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From a photograph taken at Prout's Neck, Maine, in 

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191 1 

OCT 2 :M332 



JUL 19™ 



Published October iqii 


THE author is grateful to all those persons who have 
aided him in the preparation of this biography. To 
Winslow Homer's two brothers he owes especially 
cordial thanks. Mr. Charles S. Homer has been most kind 
in lending indispensable assistance and most patient in an- 
swering questions. Mr. Arthur B. Homer with fortitude has 
listened to the reading of the entire manuscript, and has given 
wise and valuable counsel and criticism. To Mr. Arthur P. 
Homer and Mr. Charles Lowell Homer of Boston the author 
is indebted for many useful suggestions and interesting remi- 
niscences. Mr. Joseph E. Baker, the friend and comrade of 
Winslow Homer in his youth, and his fellow-apprentice in 
BufTord's lithographic establishment in Boston, from 185510 
1857, has supplied interesting data which could have been 
obtained from no other source. Mr. Walter Rowlands, of the 
fine arts department of the Boston Public Library, has made 
himself useful in the line of historic research, for which his 
experience admirably qualifies him, and has gone over the 
first rough draft of the manuscript and offered many friendly 
hints and suggestions for its betterment. Thanks are due to 
Mr. Thomas B. Clarke of New York, who has freely placed 
at the disposal of the author all his stores of information, and 
has liberally offered a mass of material for illustrative pur- 
poses. To Mr. John W. Beatty, director of fine arts, Carnegie 
Institute, Pittsburgh, warm acknowledgments are made for 
his constant and generous interest. 

Mr. William V. O'Brien of Chicago, Mr. Burton Mansfield 


of New Haven, Mr. Ross Turner of Salem, Mr. William J. 
Bixbee of Marblehead, Mr. Harrison S. Morris of Philadel- 
phia, Messrs. T. Gerrity, GustavReichard, J. Nilsen Laurvik, 
Sidney W. Curtis, Bernard Devine, and C. Klackner, all of 
New York, Messrs. Doll & Richards of Boston, Mr. J. W. 
Young of Chicago, Mr. J. H. Gest of the Cincinnati Museum 
Association, Mr. Bryson Burroughs of the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art, and the officers of the art museums of Boston, 
Philadelphia, Chicago, Providence, Washington, Milwaukee, 
and Worcester are also to be mentioned among those whose 
cooperation has been of value. 

To the courtesy and kindness of these and other men, 
whatever merit the history of Winslow Homer's life may 
possess is very largely due. Without their help the difficul- 
ties would have been immeasurably greater. Only a year 
ago, it would have been impossible to gather sufficient au- 
thentic first-hand information to construct any definite and 
connected account of Homer's life. With admirable loyalty 
his brothers have scrutinized every personal detail with sole 
regard to what he would have been likely to approve, and 
the family habit of reserve in such matters is strong. The 
best things are often those which do not get into print. The 
reader has the privilege of reading between the lines, and if 
he chooses to exercise it here, he will find nothing but what 
is creditable and honorable to Winslow Homer. 
Boston, March i, 191 1. 



CHAPTER I. The Artist and the Man. 

Winslow Homer's Chief Titles to Fame — His Individuality and 
Aniericanism — Tlie Poetry of Real Life — Single-mindedness — 
Painter of the Ocean — Adverse Criticism — Personal Character 
and Traits — Kindness and Charity — Love of Flowers — Sense 
of Humor 3 

CHAPTER II. Early Days in Boston and Cambridge. 

1S36-1859. To the Age of 23. 

The Homer Family — Winslow Homer's Parents — His Birth- 
place — Removal to Cambridge — School Days — Juvenile Draw- 
ings — "Beetle and Wedge" — Apprenticed to Bufford — First 
Drawings Published — Studio in Boston 21 

CHAPTER III. New York — The Great War. 

1859-1863. ^tat. 23-27. 

Studio in Nassau Street — Studio in the University Building, 
Washington Square — Bohemian Life — His Friends — Lincoln's 
Inauguration — McClellan's Peninsular Campaign — First Oil 
Paintings — "The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty" — "Rations" 
— "Defiance" — " Home, Sweet Home" — "The Last Goose 
at Yorktown " • 34 

CHAPTER IV. Early Works. 

1864-1871. ^tat. 28-35. 

Pictures of Camp Life — Made an Academician — "The Bright 
Side " — "Pitching Quoits " — " Prisoners from the Front ' ' — 
First Voyage to Europe — What he did not do — -"The Sail- 
Boat" — Drawings for " Every Saturday " 51 


CHAPTER V. Life in the Country. 
1 872-1 876. ^tat. 36-40. 

Studio in West Tenth Street — "New England Country School" 

— " Snap the Whip" — A Summer on Ten-Pound Island — The 
Gloucester Watercolors — Urban Subjects — Last of the ' ' Harper' s 
Weekly " Drawings — " The Two Guides" — Relations with La 
Farge 69 

CHAPTER VL Among the Negroes. 

1876-1880. ^tat. 40-44. 

"The Visit from the Old Mistress" — "Sunday Morning in 
Virginia" — "The Carnival" — An Episode in Petersburg — 
The Model who Ran Away — The Houghton Farm Watercolors 

— ' ' The Shepherdess of Houghton Farm " — " The Camp Fire ' ' 

— Gloucester again — Homer's Mastery in Composition . . . 85 

CHAPTER Vn. Tynemouth — The English Series. 

I 881-1882. ^tat. 45-46. 

The Dwelling at Cullercoates — "Watching the Tempest" — - 
" Perils of the Sea " — "A Voice from the Cliffs " — " Inside 
the Bar " — A Turning- Point in the Artist's Career — Watercolors 
Dealing with Storms and Shipwrecks 99 

CHAPTER VHL Prout's Neck. 

1884. ^tat. 48. 

How the Homer Brothers discovered and developed a Summer 
Resort in Maine — Description of the Place — Winslow Homer's 
Studio — His Garden — His Way of Living — Identification of his 
Masterpieces with Prout's Neck 109 

CHAPTER IX. "The Life Line." 

1884. ^tat. 48. 

The Story-Telling Picture — Sources of Prejudice against it — 
Various Comments on and Descriptions of " The Life Line" — 
Exhibitions in Boston — An Anecdote of a Commission for a Pic- 
ture which was declined 1 20 


CHAPTER X. Nassau and Cuba. 

1 885-1 886. iEtat. 49-50. 

A Winter in the Bahamas and the South Coast of Cuba — The 
Color of the Tropics — "Searchlight, Harbor Entrance, Santiago 
de Cuba " — " The Gulf Stream ' ' — Later Trips to Nassau, Ber- 
muda and Florida 128 

CHAPTER XI. Marine Pieces with Figures. 

1 885-1 888. ^tat. 49-52. 

"The Fog Warning" — " Lost on the Grand Banks " — " Hark! 
the Lark " — " Undertow " — " Eight Bells " — The Genesis of 
a Deep-Sea Classic . . -137 

CHAPTER XII. Etchings — Paintings of the Early 

1888-1892. ^tat. 52-56. 

The Series of Reproducdons of his Own Paintings — "Cloud 
Shadows" — "The West Wind" — "Signal of Distress" — 
"Summer Night" — "Huntsman and Dogs" — "Coast in 
Winter" 150 

CHAPTER XIII. Milestones on the Road of Art. 

1893— 1894. ^tat. 57-58. 

Honors at the World's Columbian Exposition — "The Fox 
Hunt" — " Storm-Beaten " — " Below Zero " — " High Cliff, 
Coast of Maine " — " Moonlight, Wood Island Light " — Adi- 
rondacks Watercolors . . .165 

CHAPTER XIV. The Portable Painting-house. 

1 895-1 896. ^tat. 59-60. 

" Northeaster " — " Cannon Rock " — The First Journey to the 
Province of Quebec — "The Lookout — All's Well!" — 
" Maine Coast " — " The Wreck " — " Watching the Breakers " 

— Honors at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia — " Hauling in Anchor " 

— Mr. Turner's Reminiscences of Homer 176 


CHAPTER XV. The Great Climacteric. 

1896-1901. ^tat. 60-65. 

Reminiscences of Mr. Bixbee — Winslow Homer and his Father 

— On the Pittsburg Jury — "Flight of Wild Geese" — "A 
Light on the Sea" — Sale of the Clarke Collection — Honors in 
Paris — "Eastern Point" — "On a Lee Shore" — Letters — 

A Shipwreck 198 

CHAPTER XVI. The O'B. Picture. 
1901-1903. ^tat. 65-67. 

The Process of Making the "Early Morning after Storm at Sea" 

— A Peep behind the Scenes — A Lesson in Etiquette — The 
Temple Gold Medal — Off for Key West 212 

CHAPTER XVn. Hours of Despondency. 

1904-1908. ^tat. 68-72. 

" Kissing the Moon ' ' — An Unfinished Picture — Atlantic City — 
Advancing Age — " I no longer paint " — " Early Evening " — 
"Cape Trinity" — -The Loan Exhibition in Pittsburg — First 
Serious Sickness — Letters 223 

CHAPTER XVni. Incidents of the Last Years. 

190S— 1910. ^tat. 72-74. 

Aversion for Notoriety — The Rubber-Stamp Signature — Charac- 
teristic Sayings — Mural Paintings — " Right and Left " — " Drift- 
wood" — Foreign Opinion — Dread of Counterfeiters — Mr. 
Macbeth' s Visit — Questions that were never Answered . . .237 

CHAPTER XIX. Homer's Death. 
19 10. ^tat. 74. 

The Last Sickness — Heart Failure — A Glorious Passing — The 
Funeral — Burial Place at Mount Auburn — His Will — The Me- 
morial Exhibitions of 1 9 1 1 in New York and Boston — The Ver- 
dict 250 



list of Pictures by Winslow Homer exhibited in the Exhibitions 
of the National Academy of Design, New York, from 1863 to 
1910 276 

List of Watercolors by Winslow Homer exhibited at the Exhibitions 
of the American Watercolor Society, New York, from 1867 to 
1909 278 

list of Oil Paintings by Winslow Homer exhibited at the Exhibi- 
tions of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 
from 1888 to 1910 282 

List of Works exhibited by Winslow Homer in the Exhibitions of 
the Society of American Artists, New York, from 1897 to 1903 . 283 

List of Oil Paintings and Watercolors by Winslow Homer in the 
CoDection of Mr. Thomas B. Clarke of New York . . . .283 

List of Works in the Loan Exhibition of Oil Paintings by Winslow 
Homer held at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 
May and June, I908 285 

List of Works in the ^'inslow Homer Memorial Exhibition held 
in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 6 to 
March 19, 191 1 286 

List of Works in the ^^^inslow Homer Memorial Exhibition held 

in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, February 7 to March 1,1911 288 


INDEX 297 



OF SEVENTY-TWO Frontispiece 

From a photograph takers at Front's Neck, Maine, in 
igo8. Photogravure 


C. S. H. Page 4 

Pencil drawing made hy the artist at the age of eleven, 
the earliest of his works now in existence. Made at 
Cambridge in 184J. By permission of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer, Quincy, Massachusetts 



Pencil drawing made in Boston from life in 18 57 by Joseph 
E. Baker. By permission of Mrs. Joseph De Camp 



From a photograph taken by Sarony in 1878. Courtesy 
of Mr. Charles S. Homer 



Courtesy of the New York Herald 


NECK 12 

From a photogrccph taken in i8g6. {Charles Savage 
Homer, Senior, Charles Savage Homer, Junior, Wins- 
low Homer, Arthur B. Homer, Arthur P. Homer, 
Charles L. Homer) 



DOG SAM 1 6 

From a photograph taken at Front's Neck by S. Towle. 
Courtesy of Mr. C. S. Homer 

ING i6 

From a photograph. Courtesy of Mr. Charles S. Homer 



From a photograph 

From a photograph. Taken while he was painting " The 
Gulf Stream" 


From a photograph taken at Front's Neck, December 2, 
igo2. On the back of the original print is written, in the 
artist's own handwriting: "Photo of stone wall built by 
Winslow Homer. Taken on Dec. 2, igo2. This poor old 
man seen here is Winslow Homer, Scarboro, Me." 
{Rubber stamp signature.) Courtesy of Mr. William V. 
O'Brien, Chicago 


From photographs taken in 1910. The east and the 
southwest views 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mrs. W. H. S. 
Pearce, Newton, Massachusetts. Photograph by Chester 
A. Lawrence 



From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Painted at Belmont, Massachusetts, about 1S58. 
The model for the figure was the present owner of the pic- 
ture. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 


Courtesy of Mr. Arthur B. Homer 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. E. H. Bern- 
heimer, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. W. A. 


From a drawing engraved on wood by G. A. Avery for 
Every Saturday, Boston, January 14, 1871 


From a drawing engraved on wood by W. H. Morse for 
Every Saturday, Boston, February 4, 1871 


From a drawing engraved on wood for Harper's Weekly, 
July II, 1874 


From a drawing engraved on wood by W. J. Linton for 
Every Saturday, Boston, March 25, 1871 



From a drawing engraved on wood for Harper's Weekly, 
September ig, 1874 



From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Richard 
H. Ewart, New York 


From the drawing in the collection of Mr. Horace D. 
Chapin, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. 
Hooper estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Law- 


From the drawing belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawre?zce 


From the drawing belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence. 



From a drawing engraved on wood for Harper's Weekly, 
Jime 13, 1874 


From a drawing on wood by Lagarde for Harper's 
Weekly, August 22, 1874 


From a drawing engraved on wood for Harper's Weekly, 
September 12, 1874 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Painted at Marshfield, Massachusetts. Wins- 
low Homer's mother posed for the figure. Photograph by 
Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 



From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence, Boston 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. N. C. 
Matthews, Baltimore, Maryland 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
National Gallery of A rt, Washington. William T. Evans' 


From the oil painting in the collection of Colonel Frank 
J. Hecker, Detroit 


WORM 84 

From the drawing in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 

From the drawing in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 

From the drawing in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Made at Kettle Cove, Prout's Neck, Maine, 
1875. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence, Boston 


From the drawing in the collection of Mr. William 
Howe Downes. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence, 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Burton 
Mansfield, New Haven, Connecticut 



From the etching by Winslow Homer, after his water- 
color in the collection of Mr. Alexander C. Hiimphreys, 
M.E., Sc.D., LL.D., President of the Stevens Institute 
of Technology, Castle Point, Hoboken, New Jersey. 
Copyright by C. Klackner, New York 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Charles W. 
Gould, New York 


Fro7n the drawing in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. {Inscribed: " Wreck of the Iron Crown, 
Tynemouth, Oct. 25, 1881.") Photograph by Chester A. 


From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Horace D. 
Chapin, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the drawing in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 


From the drawing in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 


From the etching by Winslow Homer, after his oil paint- 


ing in the collection of Mr. G. W. Elkins. Copyright by 
C. Klackner, New York 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Horace D. 
Chapin, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 



From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. William 
Howe Downes. Painted at Houghton Farm, Mountain- 
ville, New York, in i8j8. Photograph by Chester A. 
Lawrence, Boston 


Fro'in the watercolor in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. F. Rocke- 
feller, Cleveland, Ohio 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. R. A. 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Charles W. 
Gould, New York 


From the photogravure, copyright by Winslow Homer 
and published by C. Klackner, New York, after the oil 
painting in the permanent collection of the Lay ton Art 
Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Edward D. 
Adams, New York 


From a wood engraving by Henry Wolf, after the oil 
painting by Winslow Homer in the collection of Mr. 
Edward T. Stotesbury, Philadelphia. Courtesy of the 
Century Company, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Thomas L. 
Manson, Jr., New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Air. George A . 
Hearn, New York 


From a watercolor 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. R. C. 
Hall, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Morris J. 
Hirsch, New York 



From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. John G. 
Johnson, Philadelphia 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Samuel 
Untermeyer, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Air. Edward T. 
Stotesbury, Philadelphia 


From the oil painting in the Luxembourg Museum, Paris 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Louis 
Ettlinger, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mrs. Bancel 
La Farge 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. C. J. 
Blair, Chicago 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. 
By permission. Copyright by Pennsylvania Academy 
of the Fine A rts 


From the oil painting in the possession of M. Knoedler 
and Company 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. F. S. 
Smithers, New York 



From the ivatercolor in the collection oj Mr. Thomas 
L. Manson, Jr., New York 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
National Gallery, Washington, D. C. Gift of Air. Wil- 
liam T. Evans 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Burton 
Mansfield, New Haven, Connecticut 


Fro77i the watercolor in the collection of Colonel Frank 
J. Hecker, Detroit 


From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor ijt the collection of Mr. Charles L. 
Freer, Detroit 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mrs. J. J. Storrow 
Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Desmond 


FitzGerald, Brookline, Massachusetts. Photograph by 
Chester A. Lawrence 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 


HOjNIER to the AUTHOR 224 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. George A . 
Hearn, New York 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mrs. H. W. 


Watercolor in the permanent collection of the Cincin- 
nati Museum Association. Painted at Key West 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Randal 
Morgan, Philadelphia 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mrs. Roland 
C. Lincoln, Boston. Photograph by Baldwin Coolidge 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island 



From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. W. K. 
Bixby, Saint Louis 

RISE 256 
From the oil painting in the collection of Dr. Lewis A . 
Stimson, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Charles L. 
Freer, Detroit 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Burton 
Mansfield, New Haven, Connecticut 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Frank L. 
Bahbott, Brooklyn, N. Y. 


From the watercolor in the permanent collection of the 
Worcester Art Museum. Copyright, Detroit Publishing 


From the watercolor in the permanent collection of the 
Worcester Art Museum. Copyright, Detroit Publishing 


From the unfinished oil painting, given to the Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, New York, by Mr. Charles S. 
Homer, in iQii 


IT is an agreeable task which the author of this volume 
has invited me to perform, the writing of a few lines of 
introduction to his book. It is especially pleasant be- 
cause it affords me the opportunity to express briefly my 
high opinion of Winslow Homer's power as a painter and 
of the frank and forceful character of the man. 

The dominating trait of Homer's character was honesty, 
and this priceless characteristic colored every act of his life 
and found abundant expression in his art. His mind operated 
in a direct and forceful manner, and sincerity was expressed 
in everything he did or said. 

The basis of his art, I think, was simple truth ; and this 
qualit}'^, easily comprehended by all, was that which made 
Homer's paintings universally popular and easily under- 
stood. Truth, in whatever form, needs no explanation, being 
its own best interpreter. 

No one, I think, was ever heard to talk about Homer's 
manner of painting, or about his technical skill, as of special 
importance. It was always the verity of the work, or the 
dignity and grandeur of the ocean, often expressed by him 
without apparent effort, but always in a perfectly direct and 
simple manner, which was the theme of conversation. 

He approached nature as a child might, without a thought 
of displaying technical dexterity, and he transmitted or re- 
produced that which impressed him with simplicity and with 
a devotion akin to unquestioning reverence. Never did the 
thought of taking from or of adding to that which was his 
task seem to occur to him for a moment. 


Notwithstanding this mental attitude, he was exacting to 
the last degree in the selection of the particular phase or 
effect of nature which he desired to reproduce. On one occa- 
sion he said : — 

" The rare thing is to find a painter who knows a good 
thing when he sees it." 

I also recall his statement that he had waited six months 
for the coming of a particular effect or expression of nature. 
To lie in wait for the rare or exceptional phase of nature, 
and especially the dramatic, and to reproduce with fidelity 
and power the effect waited for or discovered, seemed to be 
Homer's purpose, especially during the latter years of his 
life. Thus it is that many of his paintings represent the tem- 
pestuous ocean. 

Indeed, when I knew him he was comparatively mdifler- 
ent to the ordinary and peaceful aspects of the ocean, refer- 
ring once to the sea as a "mill pond," as if it possessed 
little interest for him in that mood. But when the lowering 
clouds gathered above the horizon, and tumultuous waves 
ran along the rock-bound coast and up the shelving, precipi- 
tous rocks, his interest became intense. 

There came one morning at Front's Neck, with a misty 
and threatening sky, when gray clouds, bewitching in their 
silvery tones, went hurrying across the troubled sea. By 
noon it was blowing a gale, and the waves were lashing the 
coast, sending spray high into the air. The driving rain 
slanted sharply under porch and awning, and the summer 
boarders gathered about wood fires, with complaining voices. 
Once and again, great clouds of mist drove across the de- 
serted rocks, and the music of old ocean rose to an ominous 
and resounding tone. Nothing could have induced a soul to 
go forth, save only a mission of mercy ; but at three o'clock 


Homer hurried into my room, robed from head to foot in 
rubber, and carrying in his arms a storm-coat and a pair of 
sailor's boots. " Come 1 " he said, " quickly ! It is perfectly 
grand I " 

For an hour we clambered over rocks, holding fast to the 
wiry shrubs which grew from every crevice, while the spray 
dashed far overhead. This placid, reserved, self-contained 
litde man was in a fever of excitement, and his delight in 
the thrilling and almost overpowering expression of the 
ocean, as it foamed and rioted, was truly inspiring. 

There comes to my mind an incident which will illustrate 
his unyielding attitude towards absolute truth. On the occa- 
sion of one of my visits to his home, we were picking our 
way along the coast, over the shelving rocks he painted so 
often and with such insight and power, when I suddenly 
said : — 

" Mr. Homer, do you ever take the liberty, in painting 
nature, of modifying the color of any part ? " 

The inquiry seemed to startle him. Arresting his steps for 
an instant, he firmly clenched his hand, and, bringing it down 
with a quick action, exclaimed : — - 

" Never 1 Never I When I have selected the thing carefully, 
I paint it exactly as it appears." Turning towards his studio, 
and pointing to the gallery which hangs along the second 
story, he added: "When I was painting the Luxembourg 
picture, I carried the canvas, repeatedly, from the rocks below, 
hung it on that balcony, and studied it from a distance with 
reference solely to its simple and absolute truth. Never 1 " he 
reiterated, as we moved on in the direction of the sea. 

Winslow Homer was extremely reluctant to express any 
opinion touching his art ; and indeed in the latter years of 
his life he rigorously avoided the subject. This frank and 


emphatic expression, which seemed to comprehend and ex- 
press a profound conviction, was doubtless called forth by 
the apparent folly of my question. I will admit that the pro- 
vocation was great, and that the query belied my innermost 
belief touching the essential quality in art. 

Notwithstanding Homer's sturdy character, as illustrated 
by these incidents, there was another side of his nature. His 
intense fondness for flowers was but one expression of his 
gentler side. There could not be a more thoughtful host, and 
his solicitude and delicate attentions were almost womanly 
in their charm. Not a single morning passed by during my 
several visits when he did not present to me, with his greet- 
ing, a few flowers, and with the members of his family this 
was his daily custom. 

He was reticent, probably morose to some extent, but 
never uncharitable. I do not recall a harsh criticism spoken 
by him in reference to the work of any fellow painter. 

Not all of Homer's pictures are equal in technical qualities, 
but those of his later and most powerful period, among which 
may be included the " High Cliff, Coast of Maine," now in 
the National Gallery at Washington, are masterly works. 
He painted the inspiring grandeur and dignity of the ocean 
with a power not excelled by any painter in the entire his- 
tory of art, and he has left a rich legacy and an inspiring 

John W. Beatty. 





Winslow Homer's Chief Tides to Fame — His Individuality and Ameri- 
canism — The Poetry of Real Life — Single-mindedness — Painter of the 
Ocean — Adverse Criticism — Personal Character and Traits — Kindness 
and Charity — Love of Flowers — Sense of Humor. 

THE life of Winslow Homer, as revealed in his works, 
is a study worthy of the serious attention of the 
historian and critic. I bring to this labor of love at 
least one valid qualification, that is to say, a lifelong interest 
in and enthusiastic admiration for his works. 

Winslow Homer is an important figure in the annals of 
American art, and the period in which he lived and wrought, 
the last half of the nineteenth century, produced no Ameri- 
can painter so thoroughly national in style and character. 
He was the most original American painter of that time, and 
at the same time the most representative. His art was 
intensely personal and intensely American. These two pre- 
eminent qualities are his chief titles to fame. 

Through the last half of the nineteenth century American 
art was gradually finding itself. One of the results of the 
Civil War was a heightened national consciousness which 
found expression in art. George Inness, William Morris 
Hunt, John La Farge, Eastman Johnson, George Fuller, and 


Augustus Saint-Gaudens are of the illustrious names which 
belong to this period. But none of these artists was either 
as individual or as national as Winslow Homer. His contri- 
bution is new, fresh, novel, has nothing of foreign tradition 
in it. It therefore marks a distinctly significant evolution, 
and takes a conspicuous place in a historic sense. Up to the 
time of Winslow Homer's appearance on the stage of events, 
our art had been in great measure a reflection of the Euro- 
pean traditions. It did not lack cleverness, elegance, charm ; 
in individual instances it did not lack passion, power, poetry ; 
but — speaking in terms of broad generalization — it lacked 
a vernacular accent. It was, in a word, eclectic. 

It is Winslow Homer's distinction that he was the first 
American painter to use an American idiom. Not only his 
subjects, but his manner of treating them ; not only his 
motives, but his point of view ; not only his material, but 
the style and sentiment in which he clothes it, have the 
stamp of Americanism indelibly impressed on them. 

To say that his style is American, is to say that it is new, 
unrelated in its externals to the traditions of painting in 
Europe and Asia, though its content may be, of course, as 
old as the search for truth, which has always existed. It is 
an American trait to ignore the processes and experiences 
of. older races and communities, to try for results without 
studying into the means used by older civilizations in reach- 
ing the same goals ; and in some departments of human 
activity this trait must assuredly be set down as costly and 
foolish. But in the art of painting it has manifest advan- 
tages. One of these is the disciplinary effect of the inde- 
pendent and unaided struggle to invent the means of ex- 
pression ; "he that overcometh shall inherit all things." The 
easy way is to acquire the trick of the trade from some 


C. S. H. 

Pencil drawing made by the artist at the age of eleven, 

the earliest of his works now in existence. Made at 

Cambridge in 1847. By permission of Mr. Arthur B. 

Homer, Quincy, Massachusetts 



skillful master ; it is a specious but delusive policy. Oddly 
enough, one painter can learn but little that is worth while, 
in technical matters, from another painter, at least so far as 
practice is concerned. This is why the schools of art do not 
educate the art student. Every painter has to begin at the 
beginning and construct his world for himself. He stands or 
falls by his own degree of personal capacity to create his 
own language, for if he uses a vocabulary already current, 
he is merely an echo of an echo. 

VVinslow Homer created his method of painting as truly 
as Velasquez created his method, that is to say, from the 
very ground up. The same spirit of truth animated both 
these men. They were equally loyal to the light within. 
They obeyed the injunction, " Be thou strong and very 
courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to 
all the law ; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left." 
Different as these men were, both dealt exclusively with 
realities — visible, tangible, material realities ; they painted 
only what they saw ; and their works illustrate the good old 
adage that truth is stranger than fiction, in the sense that it 
is more interesting. 

It would be a mistake to suppose that the work of the ex- 
ponent of realities is necessarily wanting in the element of 
poetr\^ Real life is not without poetn,' ; far from it. The 
poet is he who discovers the interesting and beautiful aspect 
of common and everj'day things. It is because Winslow 
Homer possessed in an exceptional degree simplicity of 
spirit, love of truth, and single-mindedness, that his work so 
abounds in the unexpectedness of the usual. The newness 
of the impression arises, not from the novelty of the subject- 
matter, but from the personal point of view of the painter. 
The poetry of rhythm is frequently felt in his design, which 


is noble, plastic, and of monumental breadth. But a still 
more essential poetry is that of " the still, sad music of hu- 
manity " which makes itself manifest in his pictures of men 
in their age-long and unending struggle to bend the forces 
of nature to their uses. 

And, if it would be an error to suppose that he who deals 
in realities must needs be prosaic, it would be also dangerous 
to assume that a painter whose vision is so unprejudiced 
and sane and penetrating, whose attachment to simple truth 
is so evident, and whose works all have to do with the life 
of to-day, is destitute of imagination. On the contrary, Wins- 
low Homer's ability to perceive the scene in its integrity, 
the vivid and convincing appearance of actuality that he im- 
parted to form, movement, and color, are so many implica- 
tions of the high attributes of imagination in the artist. But 
the unique and individual quality of imagination in his case 
precluded any tampering with the truth. He saw and felt 
the tremendous significance of the visible world, and he dis- 
dained all puerile attempts to improve upon the works of 
God. He understood instinctively that — 

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily. 

To throw a perfume on the violet. 

To smooth the ice, or add another hue 

Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light 

To seek the beautous eye of heaven to garnish. 

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess. 

Thus his relations with Mother Nature, his only teacher, 
were those of a beautifully docile and humble student. In 
reality he had no other teacher. He belonged to no school. 
He leaves no pupils, no followers. In nature and life he 
found all the beauty, interest, and meaning that he so simply 
and sincerely expressed in his pictures. His style is the nat- 


ural and necessary exterior form of his unique and solitary 
temperament. It is cliaracterized by invariable honesty and 
seriousness, by an intuitive sense of self-respect and high re- 
serve. Unsentimental, but far from unfeeling, his sympathies 
were for the natural, primitive, elemental, universal things 
in men and landscape alike. He was singularly gifted with 
the faculty of seeing these great things in their stark integ- 
rity, and of giving to their physical embodiments that air of 
individual distinction which is so often a concomitant of sim- 
plicity and modesty. 

I have spoken of his single-mindedness. His was a career 
in which no side issues, no distractions, no wavering of the 
will, no possible question about the aim of effort, the goal to 
be sought, were suffered to interrupt the steady, resolute, 
tenacious progress from stage to stage, from the day of 
small things to that of great things. He knew from the outset 
what he wanted to do, and he went about the doing of it with 
a deadly seriousness. He taught himself to draw. All men 
who would learn to draw must needs do likewise. Drawing 
did not come easily to him. Does it to any one ? There is no 
royal road to art. We speak with bated breath of the self- 
made man ; but are not all men self-made, if they are made at 
all ? Surely, Winslow Homer's school was not the class-room, 
nor did he choose to avail himself of the customary advan- 
tages of professional training, and possibly that is one of the 
very reasons why he could make the best of himself. The 
man was indomitable. Obstacles only stimulated his ambi- 
tion. His academy was the real world ; it was everywhere 
and at all times his atelier, for he worked at all hours and 
places. Art was his vocation. He did not choose it. It chose 

From the beginning his art concerned itself with the lives 


of men and women, and more particularly with soldiers, 
sailors, fishermen, and their wives and children ; woodsmen, 
hunters, pioneers, farmers, and, in general, the people who 
live and labor in the open. The landscape background 
against which the human figures are projected has a large 
importance and a great significance ; the environment of the 
soldier being the camp, the bivouac, the entrenchments ; that 
of the sailor the deck of the ship at sea ; that of the fisher- 
man his fishing smack or dory ; that of his women-folk the 
fishing village or the harbor or the beach ; that of the woods- 
man, guide, and hunter, the wilderness of Canada or Maine 
or the Adirondacks ; while the farmer is shown at his work 
in the fields. It is not always possible to say definitely 
whether the landscape or the figures in it play the dominant 
part in the composition, so inextricably knit together are the 
elements which unite in the pictorial ensemble. Oftenest it is 
the man or the men, doubtless, who occupy, as it were, the 
middle of the stage. But the setting is never a negligible 
quantity. On the contrary, it is made to enhance, to explain, 
even to exalt the actor ; to supplement and complete the im- 
pression made by him ; to throw new light upon his voca- 
tion and kindle the imagination of the observer as to its 
possibilities in the promotion of manly virtues. 

The early drawings contributed to " Harper's Weekly " 
during the Civil War possess a double title to our interest. 
They are first-hand documents concerning that greatest of 
our wars, and they illustrate from month to month just how 
the young artist was acquiring his training. The seventeen 
years of drudgery (if it was drudgery), when he was obliged 
to make his way by doing black-and-white work for the illus- 
trated press, proved to be the severest and most useful 
course of practice for a painter, more prolonged, more ardu- 



Pencil drawing made in Boston from life in i8s7 by Joseph 

E. Baker. By permission of Mrs. Joseph De Camp 

^ma j 3<1. « 





m 2^^ 

^"^ ^ ^'ii.CT 





ous, and more tangible in its results, than any possible 
schooling in a regular art academy. Nature was the model, 
and he drew from nature in every imaginable phase : the 
human figure, animals, landscape, marines, everything that 
came in his way. Consider the immense range of his sub- 
ject-matter from the beginning : camp life in Virginia, 
negro genre, rustic life and farm episodes in New England, 
hunting and fishing scenes in the North Woods and the 
Province of Quebec, the life of the sailor and fisherman both 
afloat and ashore, the tropical life and scenery of the Bahama 
Islands, Cuba, Key West, and Florida, city street scenes in 
New York and Boston, the American summer resorts and 
watering places, — and verily it seems as if he might have 
taken for his motto : Huvtani nihil alienum. 

As the painter of the ocean, Winslow Homer stands pre- 
eminent. There have been many marine painters of ability 
in the history of nineteenth-century art, but there is only 
one Winslow Homer. The painter of "The Maine Coast," 
" On a Lee Shore," " Cannon Rock," " The West Wind," 
"High Cliff, Coast of Maine," and "A Summer Night" is 
sui generis. Other men have given excellent interpreta- 
tions of the sea in its moods of peace or storm, calm or 
fury; I would not disparage their achievements by invidious 
comparisons ; American artists have won legitimate laurels 
in this difficult field of effort, — there is glory enough for 
them all. 

In Homer's marine pieces there is the consummate expres- 
sion of the power of the ocean. The subject may be and often 
is storm and stress, but the most violent manifestations of 
what we call the anger of the wind and wave are interpreted 
without exaggeration. In the very " torrent, tempest, and 
whirlwind of [his] passion " he had the temperance that gave 


it smoothness; he did not o'erstep the modesty of nature. 
The weight and thrust of an Atlantic billow, the rush and 
turmoil of the surf, the dynamic force of the pounding seas 
in a winter gale, are realized in his paintings with an invig- 
orating vividness, it is true, but the synthetic method by 
which his art conveys such impressions is the result of a life- 
long course of patient observation and experimentation ; the 
instantaneous vision of a huge toppling breaker, the affair 
of the fraction of a second, may have cost the close study of 
years. It is natural to be carried away by the sheer strength 
and swiftness of the movement of these ocean symphonies, 
but the wonderful things about them, after all, are their deli- 
cacy and reserve. The artist found a way to simplify the 
complexities of a motive which abounds in perplexing cross- 
currents and eddies, to reduce a seeming chaos to order, to 
suggest beneath the apparent anarchy of troubled waters the 
universal reign of law. Though he must have felt the exhila- 
ration caused by extraordinary manifestations of natural forces, 
such as a northeaster on the coast of Maine, his style, free 
from the spectacular, remains natural. The tempest's rage is 
not in his blood ; calm in the midst of its violence, his hand 
and eye are steady, and his work betrays neither agitation 
nor haste. Nothing but truth endures. It is sufficient. The 
art which rests on that lives and will live. 

I think we can read between the lines in Homer's works a 
conviction of the superiority of nature to art. He realized, 
with Emerson, that "the best pictures are rude draughts of 
a few of the miraculous dots and lines and dyes which make 
up the everchanging ' landscape with figures ' amidst which 
we dwell." He measured his success as a painter, not by those 
standards which are in the last analysis a group of memories 
of pictures, but by the degree of the exactitude with which 


he was able to give the look of nature in his own terms. Now, 
this loyalty to the naked truth is not a common trait in paint- 
ers. No doubt they all profess it ; they all aspire to it ; but it 
is not given to many to attain to it. How much of this was 
an inborn gift it is not for any man to say. 

Every original artist's work has the defects of its merits — 
a paradox which contains a germ of truth. It is not to be ex- 
pected that the productions of a painter like Homer shall 
escape adverse criticism. There are many artists who are 
quite ready to outlaw a painter whose methods are so antag- 
onistic to all their preconceived ideas and principles. Homer 
offended many of his professional brethren by his aggressive 
individuality. His way of doing things was in itself an offense 
to the mediocre painter. Yet there were also artists of mark 
and likelihood, themselves original and independent search- 
ers for truth, who failed to understand him and his art ; and 
I need not say that the loss was theirs. His lofty indiffer- 
ence to what other men in the profession were doing was, of 
course, hard to hear. If it was regarded as a pose, never was 
there a graver mistake. He was incapable of posing. It was, 
however, a part of a setded and consciously adopted policy. 
When he was an apprentice in Bufford's lithograph shop in 
Boston, at the age of nineteen, he said to J. Foxcroft Cole : 
" If a man wants to be an artist, he must never look at pic- 

The adverse criticisms on his work may be summed up in 
a few quotations from the writings of three critics. Mr. Isham ^ 
speaks of Homer's " ignorance of or indifference to what 
other men have done before." But the rest of the sentence 
shows such a keen realization on Mr. Isham's part of the 

1 The History of American Painting, by Samuel Isham. New York : The 
Macmillan Company, 1905. 


advantages of that ignorance or indifference, that the com- 
ment, taken in its entirety, amounts to a complete aesthetic 
justification of the painter's ignorance or indifference. In- 
deed, Mr. Isham's judicial estimate of the peculiar artistic 
merits to be found in certain of Homer's pictures wherein 
"things which have been generally accepted as impossible 
of representation " have been admirably achieved, seems to 
be a virtual vindication of ignorance. I do not, however, ac- 
cept this unpleasant word, in connection with Homer's men- 
tal attitude towards the works of other men. He was not 
ignorant concerning what other men had done ; and if he 
was indifferent, as we have every reason for supposing he 
was, it was because he found Nature so much more interest- 
ing and the study of it so much more profitable for his own 
purposes. He did not turn his back on the traditions of the 
art of painting because of any feeling of disdain, but in ac- 
cordance with a deep-seated policy and purpose, and that 
policy and purpose were worked out with triumphant suc- 

Mrs. Van Rensselaer ^ alludes to Homer's early pictures as 
crude, harsh, and awkward, but admits that there was the true 
breath of life in them. Like Mr. Isham, her animadversion 
has the advantage of suggesting its own rejoinder. For who 
would not pardon a good deal of crudity, harshness, and 
awkwardness in any picture, provided it had the true breath 
of life in it? The critic should beware of the error of looking 
for drawing-room graces and refinements in a man whose art 
is concerned with larger and more universal interests. I was 
once in a picture gallery where a fine Millet was on exhibi- 
tion, and heard a solemn person say : " How much more in- 

' Six Portraits, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer. Boston and New York: 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1894. 




From a photograph taken by 

Sarony in iSyS. Courtesy 

of Mr. Charles S. Homer 


Courtesy of the New York 


From a photograph taken in i8g6. {Charles Savage 

Homer, Senior, Charles Savage' Homer , Junior, 

Winslow Homer, Arthur B. Homer, 

Arthur P. Homer, Charles L. Homer) 



teresting Millet's paintings would have been if he had painted 
a better class of people 1 " 

Leila Mechlin/ writing of Homer's oil paintings, has said 
that "there is none who, from the technical standpoint, com- 
monly paints more hatefully than he." Again, she has said : 
"Apparently the mode of delivery does not concern him be- 
yond the point of sincerity and truth." And again : " In his 
method of renderingMr. Homer outrages the strongest convic- 
tions of perhaps nine tenths of the present-day painters." I dis- 
sent most emphatically from each and all of these assumptions. 
The charge of painting "hatefully" cannot be taken seri- 
ously : this is one of those things that one would have wished 
to express otherwise. Yet beneath the infelicity of the ad- 
verb there is a real censure, and the expression of a real dis- 
like, which is to be regretted. One man's method of painting 
differs from another's, as one man's handwriting differs from 
another's, but to assert that this method is the right one and 
that the wrong one is to perpetrate a critical puerility. As 
for the mode of delivery, why should it concern him or any 
one "beyond the point of sincerity and truth"? It would 
be difficult to specify any convictions regarding methods of 
painting which would be agreed upon by nine tenths of the 
present-day painters, but even were this possible, it would by 
no means follow that their technical standpoint was the only 
tenable one, or that it would be incumbent upon a Winslow 
Homer to conform to it. The assumption here is that there 
is one correct and orthodox method of workmanship in paint- 
ing, but I am sure that Miss Mechlin is too intelligent to be 
willing to go on record as holding any such view as that. 

In painting, as in other fields of effort, results are what 
count, and all honorable means are open to the worker. More 

I Winslow Homer, by Leila Mechlin. The International Studio, June, 1908. 


than in most lines of human activity, in the art of the painter 
is it true that the tree is known by its fruit. Moreover, it is 
impossible to lay down a hard and fast line of demarcation 
between the mode of expression and the thing expressed, as 
we see it in the finished work. Therefore, if the result is 
satisfactory, if the effect intended is produced, if the picture 
has power and veracity, nobility and authority, it is idle to 
scrutinize the brushwork to see whether it has been done in 
accordance with any individual's or school's notions of the 
best ways and means. For in these things the painter, if he 
be worth any notice at all, is a law unto himself. 

Homer's personal character was inevitably embodied in 
his works. He had an insurmountable aversion to the kind 
of publicity which concerns itself with personal matters, and 
indeed the intensity of his feeling on this subject amounted 
to eccentricity. The isolation of his life at Front's Neck for 
the last twenty-seven years was significant of the mental at- 
titude that his temperament imposed upon him with respect 
to society. He was from his earliest youth jealous of his in- 
dependence, and he guarded it with instinctive vigilance 
against intrusion. It was neither chance nor design that led 
him to pass so much of his time in solitude ; it was his own 
obedience to the laws of his nature. Exceptional men are 
justified in adopting an exceptional mode of life, and the 
artist has the right to surround himself with safeguards against 
all manner of interruptions, distractions, and frictions, which 
may impair his capacity for sustained work. He has to be 
his own judge as to the means to this end. If his work is of 
paramount importance, all minor interests must yield to it. 
But the solitude of Winslow Homer was never irksome to 
him : he had resources within himself. The sea was there. 
He tended his little garden. He made frequent journeys to 


the Adirondacks, to Canada, to Nassau, to Florida, and his 
mind was always full of projects for work. 

He was, probably, all his life, more or less of a problem, 
even to the friends who thought they knew him best. Most 
of us need human companionship ; he appeared to feel no 
need for it. He was, in a sense, self-sufficient. He was some- 
times brusque in his manner, but he never was intentionally 
rude or unkind. He never said a harsh thing without quickly 
repenting it and offering the ameride honorable. Beneath the 
crust of reticence, indifference, and coldness, there was a 
fund of genuine kindness, which extended to the humblest 
of his acquaintances. He would go out of his way to show 
attention and courtesy to the most insignificant persons, sur- 
prising and touching them by the evident sincerity of his 
interest in them. Instances of his stealthy manner of doing 
good to poor and sick persons are numerous. He took ex- 
traordinar}'^ pains not to let his left hand know what his right 
hand was doing. 

There was an intemperate old man living in Scarboro, 
whose wife finally left him, and who became such an in- 
veterate victim of alcoholism, that he could get no regular 
employment, because no one could rely upon him. He lived 
miserably, alone, in a hut, and there seemed to be no hope 
and no future for him. Now, just at the time when it seemed 
to this outcast that the world had no more use for him, and 
that all men despised him, Winslow Homer gave him some 
work to do, — odd chores about the garden, say, and he also 
taught him to pose as a model. In some mysterious way the 
influence of Homer over this man became so strong, that it 
seemed as if he could do what he liked with him ; and the 
poor old sinner was so grateful and so loyal, that he would 
have gladly laid down his life for his friend. He did more 


than that, — he succeeded in keeping sober whenever he 
was working for Homer, a miracle of self-control. 

Another instance will serve to demonstrate that there was 
a beautiful side of Winslow Homer's character which the 
world never knew. One of his nephews, hard hit by a finan- 
cial disaster, and too proud to ask for aid so long as he had 
a pair of strong arms to work with, had gone to Wilmington, 
Delaware, in 1900, and got a job at ten dollars a week. As 
long as he had his health, that was enough to support him, 
but he fell sick, and, what with doctors' bills and the long 
enforced loss of wages, he was near being in a very tight 
sort of place. Still, he did not let his people know anything 
about his condition, and one day he was very much aston- 
ished to receive a letter bearing a Florida postmark and run- 
ning as follows : — 

" Dear , — No thanks for the enclosed. 

Uncle Winslow." 

" The enclosed " was a substantial check, which was enough 
to pay off the young man's debts and set him squarely on 
his feet. I leave the reader to imagine whether that youth 
loved and honored the uncle. In telling me of it, he said, 
with the characteristic terseness of the Homers, " It was like 
him. A kinder man never walked the earth." 

Another incident remains to be recorded which serves to 
show this tender and beautiful side of his character in a new 
light. A lady living in New York, who was afflicted by an 
incurable malady, and who had seen some of his pictures at 
one of the loan exhibitions of the Union League Club, was 
deeply desirous to possess one of his Prout's Neck subjects, 
but, feeling that she could not perhaps afford to pay the full 



From a photograph taken at Proui's Neck by S. Towle. 

Courtesy of Mr. C. S. Homer 


From a photograph. Courtesy of Mr. Charles S. Homer 


price for it, she resolved to write to the artist, and frankly to 
lay before him the passionate admiration she entertained for 
his work, her unfortunate situation, and the yearning of her 
heart to own a Winslow Homer before she died. It appears 
that she had been bom in Maine, and her longing for a pic- 
txire of that rugged coast where she had spent her childhood 
made her bold enough to address a personal appeal to the 
artist. Her letter was for some months unanswered, but at 
last a letter came, accompanied by three sketches of the 
Maine coast, which Homer presented to her with his com- 
pliments, making light of his generosity by saying that he 
was " quite through with them." His letter was as follows : — 

ScARBORO, Maine, Sept. 14, 1906. 

Mrs. Grace K. Curtis, 

Dear Madam, — I have at last received your request of 
last winter. As I am never here after Nov. ist until the next 
spring, about May, and as I never have my maU sent to me, 
I missed receiving your letter. 

I now send to you with my compliments three sketches of 
the Maine coast. I am quite through with them and I take 
pleasure in presenting them to you. 

Yours very truly, 

Winslow Homer. 

Two weeks later he wrote again : — 

ScARBORO, Maine, Sept. 27, 1906. 

Mrs. Grace K. Curtis, 

Dear Madam, — I consider myself very much honored 
by the receipt of this beautiful Portrait. It was delayed at the 
station for my signature (four miles from my home). I shall 
treasure it highly, and I am so glad to have for a few mo- 


ments diverted your thoughts from the unfortunate condition 
that you mention in regard to your health. 
Yours respectfully, 

WiNSLow Homer. 

The next letter, five months later, was addressed to the 
lady's husband, and runs thus : — 

February 23, 1907. 

Mr. Sidney W. Curtis, 

My dear Sir, — I appreciate your attention in calling 
on me, and I sincerely thank Mrs. Curtis for sending me 
these fine grapes. It is now fifteen days since I sprained my 
ankle very badly. It will take quite a long time to fully re- 
cover its use. I have been downstairs only twice, but am 
improving rapidly ; in the meantime I do not feel like receiv- 
ing any company. When I do, I will with pleasure let you 
know and make an appointment. 

Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

" I am so glad — " These heartfelt words of sympathy tell 
the whole story. They reveal 

that best portion of a good man's life. 
His little, nameless, unremembered acts 
Of idndness and of love. 

Winslow Homer liked the society of common people, the 
working classes, the rough, homely, uneducated folk, better 
than that of the " nice people." His old comrade, Joseph E. 
Baker, speaking of the summer that he passed at Gloucester 
and Annisquam in 1880, remarked : " He knew plenty of 
nice people, but he associated with two fishermen, and pre- 
ferred their company." An amusing instance of his fondness 


for the society of plain people is best given in the very words 
of another informant : — 

" Old was a butcher, who used to come around to 

Prout's Neck with his wagon, and Winslow Homer bought 
chickens and so forth from him. Now, you know, Homer 
would never let any one criticise his paintings, even if he let 
any one in the studio at all, but it is a fact that he would 

have old in there sometimes a whole hour at a time, 

sitting and smoking with him, and he would let him tear his 
pictures all to pieces." 

I have an idea that the butcher was not so incisive a critic 
as his profession would seem to indicate he might be. 

Winslow Homer was passionately fond of flowers. He 
had a garden at Prout's Neck, and he built a high fence all 
around it so that no one could see him when he was in it. 
He cultivated old-fashioned flowers, such as English prim- 
roses, cinnamon pinks, etc. He also raised vegetables for 
his own table. When any one was sick, he took great pains 
to send flowers daily. His sister-in-law had a tedious illness 
one summer, and every morning a quaint nosegay of old- 
fashioned flowers came to the door, borne by the artist in 
person ; in fact, he came twice a day to ask after her health, 
and the morning bouquet was never forgot. If he went to 
make a call upon a lady, — a rare event, — he always made 
it a point to carry a nosegay from his garden for his hostess. 

To those who were privileged to know him he was the 
soul of fine feeling and gentle courtesy. He did not wear 
his heart upon his sleeve, but there was not a particle of mis- 
anthropy in his nature. He was so constituted that any kind 
of feigning was positively impossible to him. There was no 
humbug in him or about him, and he could not tolerate any 
kind of falseness. He was in every respect a gentleman, and 


he possessed a strong sense of honor. He was himself under 
all circumstances, — genuine, natural, unaffected. Self-respect 
and independence were among his most noticeable traits of 

Homer was an indefatigable worker. It is hardly an ex- 
aggeration to say that he worked all the time. He was al- 
ways planning pictures and drawings, always looldng for 
subjects, always absorbed in his work, which was his very 
life. Somebody once asked him where he got his talent. 
" Talent 1 " he said. " There 's no such thing as talent. What 
they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continu- 
ous hard work in the right way." This definition is at least 
more exact than the often-quoted maxim about genius which 
runs very much to the same effect. 

To his other personal characteristics Homer added a very 
marked sense of humor. He had a quaint, solemn way of 
saying the most whimsical and delightful things, and he 
could utter stinging sarcasms without a smile. His sense of 
humor kept him from taking himself or anybody else too 
seriously. He detested hypocrisy and pretence of all kinds, 
and his preference for the society of humble folk was mainly 
due to their plain, blunt, and candid character and conversa- 
tion. He rarely talked about himself or his work. His art 
was sacred to him ; it was his religion. Whether the public 
liked his pictures or not seemed to be a matter of indiffer- 
ence to him. During his early professional life in New York 
his work was sometimes severely criticised, but this appeared 
to make no impression upon him whatever. He was con- 
scious of his own powers, but he was not moved either by 
praise or censure. The most enthusiastic compliments from 
his friends seldom elicited anything more than a grunt from 


From a photograph 

From a photograph. Taken while he was painting " The 
Gulf Stream" 



1836-1859. To the Age of 23 

The Homer Family — Winslow Homer's Parents — His Birthplace — Re- 
moval to Cambridge — School Days — Juvenile Drawings — "Beetle and 
Wedge ' ' — Apprenticed to Bufford — First Drawings PubHshed — Studio 
in Boston. 

THE Boston of 1836 was a snug litde seaport town, 
confined for the most part to the peninsula between 
the harbor and the Charles River, a picturesque 
site, with its three hills and its irregular water-front. Well- 
to-do persons still lived at the North End and the old West 
End on the Northern side of Beacon Hill. In the network of 
narrow and crooked streets lying between Faneuil Hall and 
Causeway Street was situated the modest dwelling-house in 
which Charles Savage Homer and his family lived, No. 25 
Friend Street, and there, on February 24, 1836, Winslow 
Homer was bom. To-day the place is a grimy, noisy busi- 
ness thoroughfare, in the heart of the downtown trade quarter, 
near the North Station. All the old residences have disap- 
peared, and on the spot where No. 25 Friend Street stood 
in 1836 there is now a plain five-story brick business build- 

The family was of good old New England stock. The 
Homers have lived in Massachusetts for more than two hun- 
dred and fifty years. The first member of the family to 
come to America, Captain John Homer, was an Englishman, 
who crossed the Atlantic in his own ship, landed at Boston 


in the middle of the seventeenth century, and settled there. 
From him was descended the family to which Winslow 
Homer belonged. Eleazer and Mary (Bartlett) Homer, Wins- 
low Homer's grandfather and grandmother, were living in a 
house which stood at the corner of Hanover and Union 
Streets, Boston, in 1809, when Charles Savage Homer, 
Winslow's father, was born. The date of Charles Savage 
Homer's birth was March 7, 1809. The homestead in Han- 
over Street was a comfortable house, with a garden. Charles 
Savage Homer married Henrietta Maria Benson, the daugh- 
ter of John and Sarah (Buck) Benson, who was born in 
Bucksport, Maine, in 1809. Her mother's father was the 
man for whom the town of Bucksport, Maine, was named. 
Both the Homers and the Bensons were vigorous, sturdy, 
long-lived people. Both of Winslow Homer's grandfathers 
lived to be over eighty-five, and his father died at the age of 

Winslow was the second of three sons. His elder brother, 
Charles Savage Homer, Junior, was his senior by two years, 
and his younger brother, Arthur B., was born five years 
after Winslow's birth. Among the boys' relations was a 
sailor, their father's brother, James Homer, known to them 
as Uncle Jim. With this uncle, however, Winslow never had 
any intercourse worth mentioning. Uncle Jim owned a 
barque, and made voyages to Cuba and other West Indian 
islands. Winslow Homer, speaking of his ancestry, once re- 
marked, in a tone of dry humor, that he had been looking 
up his family tree, but when he got back two or three gen- 
erations he discovered that one of his ancestors was a pirate, 
and he did not dare to look any farther. This did not refer to 
his Uncle Jim, however, but to his Grandfather Benson, and 
the dim legend about his being a pirate rests upon such a 


feeble foundation that it must be dismissed as a very foggy 
sort of yam. John Benson was neither a pirate nor a sailor ; 
he was just a simple Down-East storekeeper. 

Winslow Homer's father was a hardware merchant. His 
firm was that of Homer, Gray & Co., importers of hardware, 
13 Dock Square (now Adams Square). Later the firm name 
was changed to Holmes & Homer, and again to Homer & 
Layton, and finally it became Charles Savage Homer. The 
store was moved from Dock Square to Merchants' Row, In 
1849, the year of the discovery of gold in California, Mr. 
Homer sold out his hardware business, and made a journey 
to California by the way of the Isthmus of Panama in the inter- 
est of the Fremont Mining Company. He loaded a vessel at 
Boston with mining machinery, and sent it around Cape 
Horn to the Pacific Coast ; he proceeded by the shorter 
route himself, and was gone two years ; but the venture was 
unsuccessful. When he arrived in California he found that 
the claim of the company in which he was interested had 
been "jumped," and his efforts to regain possession of the 
property were unavailing. It is recalled that when he set out 
for the Pacific Coast his baggage was impressive in its new- 
ness, brass-bound trunks eliciting the admiration of the boys, 
but when he came back two years later his gripsack was 
tied with a string. Mr. Homer is described by his contempo- 
raries as having been a handsome man, of dignified pre- 
sence. Mrs. Homer was a gracious, gentle lady, who had a 
pretty talent for painting flower pieces in watercolors. So 
interested was she in this work that she took lessons in 
painting after she was married. Many of her flower pieces, 
which are altogether excellent as studies, are still piously 
preserved by her sons. 

During the years that the Charles Savage Homer family 


lived in Boston and Cambridge, in the first half of the nine- 
teenth century, they were a migratory people, after the 
American fashion, and lived in seven different houses. After 
leaving the Grandfather Homer homestead in Hanover 
Street, at the time of his marriage, Charles Savage Homer 
established himself in Howard Street, where his oldest son 
was bom in 1834. The removal to No. 25 Friend Street soon 
followed. Both of these locations were convenient with re- 
spect to Mr. Homer's place of business in Dock Square. But 
from the Friend Street house, not long after Winslow's birth, 
in 1836, the Homers moved to a new home at No. 7 Bulfinch 
Street, near Bowdoin Square. There the youngest son was 
bom, in 1841, and there the family lived until Winslow was 
six years old, when they moved to Cambridge, in 1842. This 
move was made chiefly for the purpose of giving the three 
boys educational advantages ; but, as it turned out, only the 
oldest son, Charles S. Homer, Junior, proved to be of sufifi- 
cient tenacity as a student to go to college. He entered 
Harvard, and was graduated from the Lawrence Scientific 
School, with the degree of S. B., in 1855. The two younger 
boys were destined to acquire their knowledge for the most 
part outside of the usual academic channels. 

The new home in Cambridge was in Main Street (now 
Massachusetts Avenue), in a big wooden house with a pseu- 
do-classical portico, opposite the end of Dana Street, on the 
south side of the street. That part of Old Cambridge was in 
1842 not radically different from what it is now, barring the 
recent innovations in the way of underground transit ; but a 
little farther out it had all the characteristics of a roomy, 
umbrageous, overgrown village ; and the opportunities for 
fishing, boating, and other rural sports dear to the heart of 
boyhood, were eagerly seized by the Homer boys. The early 





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years of WinsloVs life, which were passed here, until he 
went to work at Buflord's, were always looked back upon 
with pleasure in after years, as a period of joyous freedom, 
and we may be sure that the beautiful surroundings had 
their part in the formation of the boy's tastes and tendencies. 
From the Massachusetts Avenue house the Homers shortly 
moved to a more comfortable home in Garden Street, next 
door to the Fay house, where now stands the principal 
building of Radclifle College, facing the spacious Common, 
and verj- near the Washington Elm. 

Winslow was now sent to the Washington Grammar 
School, in Brattle Street, near Har\'ard Square. His school- 
mates remember him as a quiet, sedate, undemonstrative 
lad, with straight dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. He 
was, even as early as 1847, when he was only eleven years 
old, fond of drawing sketches. Thirtj^ years later he told 
his friends that he had still kept a heap of crayon draw- 
ings of his own, made in the Cambridge school-days, each 
drawing being carefully signed and dated. The most unusual 
part of the proceeding, however, for a boy of eleven, was that 
he actually drew from life, and did not make copies of other 
pictures. Among the juvenile drawings which date from 
about this period are "A Man with a Wheelbarrow" which 
was drawn from a living model, and " The Beetle and 
Wedge," or, as the youthful artist himself called it, " The 
Youth of C. S. H.," representing a group of four school- 
boys playing that impish game, which requires four partici- 
pants, one to play the part of the wedge, one to serve as the 
beetle, and the other two to bring the beetle and wedge into 
violent collision. This drawing, which is the earliest work of 
Winslow Homer now in existence, is a very remarkable 
piece of work for a boy of eleven to have produced, as will 


be acknowledged by every one. At the lower right-hand 
corner of the design a " key to the picture," introduced evi- 
dently as an afterthought, identifies the four boy models. 
The two bigger boys are Charles Homer and George Ben- 
son, a cousin. The hapless beetle is little Arthur Homer, 
then nine years of age, and the wedge is Ned Wyeth. To 
compose a group of four figures and to draw them from life, 
with a broadly suggested landscape background of hills, is 
certainly one of the most astonishing manifestations of 
artistic precocity on record ; and we note in this juvenile 
effort the forerunner of the picture of " Snap the Whip " and 
several similar subjects. 

" His father encouraged his leaning towards art, and on 
one occasion, when on a visit to Paris, sent him a complete 
set of lithographs by Julian — representations of heads, ears, 
noses, eyes, faces, houses, trees, everything that a young 
draughtsman might fancy trying his hand at — and also 
lithographs of animals by Victor Adam, which the son hast- 
ened to make profitable use of. At school he drew maps and 
illustrated text-books stealthily but systematically." ^ 

On the strength of the suggestion conveyed in this last 
statement, Mr. McSpadden ^ draws a fanciful word picture of 
the scene in the Cambridge school-room, when young Homer 
is discovered making surreptitious sketches on the margins 
of his text-books, and is ignominiously sent into the dunce 
comer as a punishment. 

In 1855, when Winslow Homer was nineteen, and his father 
was thinking of trying to obtain a job for the boy as a sales- 
man in a Cambridge haberdashery, an unexpected oppor- 

1 Art Journal, London, August, 1878. 

' Famous Painters of America, by J. Walker McSpadden. New York : 
Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. 


tunity arose to place the lad as an apprentice in a litho- 
grapher's shop in Boston. Bufford, the proprietor of this 
establishment, whose place of business was at the comer of 
Washington and Avon streets, advertised for a boy who 
must " have a taste for drawing." It seems that BufEord was 
a friend of Charles Savage Homer, and a member of the 
volunteer fire company of which the latter was foreman. 
Application was made forthwith to Bufford, and the boy was 
accepted on trial for two weeks. 

"He suited, and stayed for two years, or until he was 
twenty-one. He suited so well, indeed, that his employer re- 
linquished the bonus of three hundred dollars usually de- 
manded of apprentices in consideration of their being taught 
a trade. His first work was designing title-pages for sheet- 
music ordered by Oliver Ditson of Boston, ' Katy Darling ' 
and ' Oh, Whistle and I '11 Come to You, my Lad ' being the 
subjects of his initial efforts in this direction. Bufford assigned 
to him the more interesting kinds of pictorial decorations, 
leaving such avocations as card-printing to the other appren- 
tices. His most important triumph at the lithographer's was 
the designing on stone of the portraits of the entire Senate 
of Massachusetts. But his sojourn there was a treadmill ex- 
istence. Two years at that grindstone unfitted him for fur- 
ther bondage ; and, since the day he left it, he has called no 
man master." ^ 

The other apprentices at Bufford's shop were Joseph Fox- 
croft Cole and Joseph E. Baker. Naturally, Winslow Homer 
became very intimate with these two comrades. Before the 
three apprentices had been taken on, Bufford was in the habit 
of doing most of his designing himself, but he found that the 
boys were capable of bettering his efforts, and he soon turned 
I Arl Journal, London, August, 1878. 


all the designing over to them. Winslow Homer at the age 
of nineteen was rather under the average height, delicately 
built, very erect, and performed most of his work standing, 
for the purpose of avoiding the tendency to get round-shoul- 
dered. He had a thick mass of dark brown hair, and hazel 
eyes. He seldom showed any emotion, and was somewhat 
stolid. When Bufford found fault with his work, he never 
manifested any feeling about it. His extreme cleverness in 
sketching was noticeable from the very first. Mr. Baker re- 
calls that he made many quick sketches in working hours, 
and tossed them on the floor, where Baker and Cole some- 
times picked them up. He began to grow a tiny moustache 
and his first beard. It was not the fashion to shave the chin 
then. His beard grew in irregular patches, and he said of it : 
" My beard is in house-lots, is n't it ? " His drawings did not 
always print well on the lithographic stone, and he hated 
the work at Bufford's, as has been intimated. 

Many a morning while he was working at BufPord's, he 
would rise at three o'clock and go out to Fresh Pond (two 
miles distant) to fish before breakfast. Returning home, he 
took the omnibus for Boston, for there were no street cars 
then. He was obliged to begin work at Bufford's at eight 
A. M. Many years afterwards, a gentleman who was born in 
Cambridge met him in New York, and said to him: " How 
is it, I do not remember ever meeting you in Cambridge, yet 
we must have been living there at the same time?" "I re- 
member you," retorted Homer, " for you were ten years older 
than I, and you used to push me oR the step sometimes 
when I was trying to hook a ride on the omnibus to Boston." 

It was while he was working at BufTord's that Winslow 
Homer became acquainted with a French wood engraver 
named Damereau, who gave him some practical notions of 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mrs. W. H. S. 

Pearce, Newton, Massachusetts. Photograph by Chester 

A. Lawrence 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Painted at Belmont, Massachusetts , about 1858. 
The model for the figure was the present owner of the pic- 
ture. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 

-c\ is» *A!i iwso^" 

^. . -1 


how to draw on the block in such a manner as to suit his 
lines to the process. This was a very essential part of the 
training for the work of an illustrator in those days. One 
afternoon, Homer, with Cole and Baker, went into Dobson's 
picture gallery, where they were looking at a painting of a 
kitchen interior with figures by Edouard Frere, when Moses 
Wight came in, and Baker introduced him to Homer. After 
a Htde, Homer said : "I am going to paint." Wight asked 
him what particular line of work he was intending to take 
up. He pointed to Frere's genre painting, and said : " Some- 
thing like that, only a sight better." 

When the two years of his apprenticeship at Bufiord's were 
up, — on his twenty-first birthday, February 24, 1857, — he 
rented a studio in Winter Street, in the building occupied by 
"Ballou's Pictorial," and made some drawings for that peri- 
odical. His first illustration there was a sketch of a street 
scene in Boston. This was published in the issue dated Sep- 
tember 12, 1857, and it was entitled "A Boston Watering 
Cart." The place depicted is in Summer Street, in front of 
the store of C. F. Hovey & Company. This was the begin- 
ning of a long period of active productiveness for the young 
artist At that time there lived in Boston a conceited and 
pompous Frenchman named Paunceloup, who was well 
known to everybody as a man about town. Homer made a 
sketch of him, with his chest thrown out, and his big waxed 
moustache, as he walked down the street, and on showing 
it to his tailor, at once sold it for a suit of clothes. It was at 
about the same time that Homer made a series of drawings 
of "Life in Harvard College," one of these depicting a foot- 
ball game. 

In 1858 he began to send drawings to Harper & Brothers, 
in New York. "Harper's Weekly" had just been founded. 


Prior to 1861, its illustrations had very little of the news 
quality, which later was to become its chief feature. 

The first of his drawings to appear in " Harper's Weekly " 
was "Spring in the City." It was signed W. H., and the 
date of its publication was April 17, 1858. This was another 
street scene in Boston, with about thirty figures in the com- 
position. The place looks very much like the corner of Tre- 
mont and Winter streets. On May 22, 1858. "The Boston 
Common," signed Homer del., appeared. This was a view of 
the Beacon Street mall near the Joy Street steps and gate, 
looking westward. There were children at play in the fore- 
ground. At the right, in the distance, a glimpse of the houses 
in Beacon Street ; at the left, the fountain playing in the Frog- 
Pond. There were many figures. The next drawing to make 
its appearance was published on September 4, 1858, and was 
entitled "The Bathe at Newport." It was signed Homer del. 
There were about twenty figures of bathers in the surf. In the 
background were some spectators on the beach. A row of 
bath-houses stood behind them, and at the right, in the dis- 
tance, were the cliffs. 

On November 13, 1858, "Husking the Corn in New Eng- 
land," signed Homer del., was the first of the long series of rus- 
tic genre pictures in black-and-white which so truthfully and 
amusingly illustrate the episodes of farm life. Imagine the 
interior of a barn, in the evening, lighted by two lanterns 
hung on a rope which is stretched from one hay-mow to the 
other. In this composition there are about forty figures. Near 
the foreground two red ears of corn have evidently been dis- 
covered, for there are two couples engaged in struggles pre- 
liminary to the kissing which is de rigueur on these occasions. 
At the left, a boy who has been sitting on a three-legged stool 
has been upset and is falling on his back. On the opposite 


page of "Harper's Weekly" are supplementary drawings by 

Homer depicting " Driving Home the Corn " and " The 

Dance after the Husking." The third canto of Barlow's 

poem in praise of Hasty Pudding elucidates the laws of 

husking : — 

The laws of husking every wight can tell. 
And sure no laws he ever keeps so well : 
For each red ear a general kiss he gains. 
With each smut-ear he soils the luckless swains. 

To " Harper's Weekly " for November 27, 1858, Homer 
contributed four drawings illustrative of Thanksgiving Day, 
— "Ways and Means," "Arrival at the Old Home," "The 
Dinner," and " The Dance." On the next page was a poem 
called "Our Thanksgiving," describing the preparation, the 
arrival, the dinner, and the dance, and it appears obvious 
that the drawings were made to fit the verses. Similarly, on 
December 25, 1858, we have a series of four illustrations 
appropriate to the Christmas holiday : " Gathering Ever- 
greens," "The Christmas Tree," "Santa Claus and His Pre- 
sents," and " Christmas Out- of- Doors." The last-named 
drawing shows the comer of Tremont and West streets, 
Boston, in a snowstorm, and there are twelve figures in it. 

" Skating at Boston," without any signature, but unques- 
tionably drawn by Homer, appeared on March 12, 1859. On 
April 2, 1859, "March Winds," signed Homer del., was an- 
other Boston street scene, with about a dozen figures, and 
quite a generous display of hosiery : it was the period of 
hoopskirts. " April Showers," in the same issue of " Harper's 
Weekly," is another Boston street scene, the locality being 
in front of Ditson's music store in Washington Street. The 
pavements are wet, and again there is a liberal display of the 
ladies' ankles. On August 27, 1859, a drawing called "Au- 


gust in the Country — The Seashore," with some twenty 
figures, appeared. This was followed on September 3 by an 
illustration of "A Cadet Hop at West Point." 

September 24, 1859, Homer signed a double-page engrav- 
ing in "Harper's Weekly" depicting "The Grand Review 
at Camp Massachusetts, near Concord, September 9, 1859." 
The article on the next page states : " We engrave herewith 
a hne picture of Camp Massachusetts - — in other words, the 
general muster of the Massachusetts militia, which took place 
near Concord on the 7th, 8th, and 9th instant. . . . The evo- 
lution selected for illustration by our artist is the grand de- 
tour executed by the militia before Governor Banks, General 
Wool, and the magistracy and legislature of the state. The 
Governor will be seen, mounted on his famous Morgan horse, 
in the background of the picture near the flagstaff. On his 
right sits General Wool ; around him are the Senate and 
other public bodies ; in his rear are the Cadets, his personal 

Next appeared in the same periodical " Fall Games — The 
Apple Bee," November 26, 1859. This is an interior of a farm- 
house, with about twenty figures. Everybody is paring ap- 
ples. In the centre of the foreground a young woman is 
throwing an apple-paring over her right shoulder. Strings of 
dried apples are hung from the ceiling. 

Of course these juvenile productions are by no means 
masterpieces, yet any one who will take the trouble to turn 
over the files of "Harper's Weekly" for 1859, will instantly 
notice one thing about Homer's illustrations : they are dif- 
ferent from all others, and possess an individuality of their 
own. Already he was his own man, he was standing on his 
own feet. 

In the autumn of 1859 he gave up his Boston studio, said 


good-by to his parents, and went to New York to seek his 
fortune. He never returned to Boston to stay, but all through 
his life he visited the city frequently, and retained his affec- 
tion for the place of his birth. Nowhere has his genius met 
with more cordial recognition. And that recognition was 
given at a time when it meant much to the artist 



1859-1863. ^tat. 23-27 

Studio in Nassau Street — Studio in the University Building, Washington 
Square — Bohemian Life — His Friends — Lincoln's Inauguration — McClel- 
lan's Peninsular Campaign — First Oil Paintings — "The Sharpshooter on 
Picket Duty " — " Rations " — " Defiance " — " Home, Sweet Home " 
— "The Last Goose at Yorktown." 

OUITE unknown, upon his arrival in New York, in 
1859, Homer took a studio in Nassau Street, which 
he occupied for about two years. He lived in a 
boarding-house kept by Mrs. Alexander Cushman, at what 
is now No. 128 East Sixteenth street. Living in the same 
house at that time were Alfred C. Howland, the painter, and 
his brother Henry, who afterwards became Judge Howland. 
The old Diisseldorf Gallery in Broadway was then open. Of 
course Homer visited it. He saw, among other pictures, 
William Page's "Venus," painted in Rome, which was then 
much discussed by all the young artists and art students. 
"What I remember best," Homer told the writer of the arti- 
cle in the "Art Journal," 1878, "is the smell of paint. I used 
to love it in a picture gallery." 

Harper & Brothers sent for him, and made him a gener- 
ous offer to enter their establishment and work regularly for 
them as an artist. "I declined it," said Homer, "because 
I had had a taste of freedom. The slavery at Bufiord's was 
too fresh in my recollection to let me care to bind myself 
again. From the time that I took my nose off that litho- 




Courtesy of Mr. Arthur B. Homer 

■ '•^■TT' 




graphic stone, I have had no master, and never shall have 

By degrees Homer became acquainted with the artists of 
New York, and in 1861 he moved to the old University 
Building in Washington Square, where several of the men 
whom he knew had their studios. Among the painters 
who were in the building at that time were Marcus Water- 
man, Alfred Fredericks, Edwin White, Eugene Benson, and 
W. J. Hennessy. Homer's studio was in the tower room, to 
which access was gained by climbing a flight of steep stairs 
fashioned like a step-ladder. This place just suited his taste. 
There was a door opening from the studio to the roof, 
which was flat, and protected by a solid parapet. Later, 
when he had taken up oil painting in earnest, he found the 
roof an excellent place to pose his models when he wished 
to get an effect of sunlight on the figures. 

There were some very jolly evenings in that studio in the 
sLxties. We are afforded a glimpse of the life of Bohemia in 
a brief description of one of these evenings given to me by 
one who was there : A dozen artist friends are in the room. 
In the midst of a hubbub of talk, story-telling, laughter, and 
badinage, Homer himself, sitting on the edge of the model- 
stand, under the gas-light, is working furiously on a drawing 
on the box-wood block which has to be finished by midnight 
for the Harpers. " Here, one of you boys," he shouts, " fill 
my pipe for me ! I 'm too busy to stop." 

Who were his friends among the painters? R. M. Shurt- 
leff, the landscape painter. Homer D. Martin, John F. Weir, 
Alfred C. Howland, with his neighbors in the University 
building; and, later, John La Farge and William M. Chase: 
these are some of them. " He was one of my oldest friends 
in the profession," says Mr. Shurtleff in speaking of Homer. 


Martin was one of the silent admirers of Homer's work, — 
one of his "pals," for, as La Farge says, he had "pals," and 
was singular in their staid admiration and friendship. This 
friendship between Homer Martin and Winslow Homer 
must have been a sort of pantomime : " Martin was capable 
of long stretches of silence, and Homer had manners of tell- 
ing you things without words." Then there was Weir : he 
was another " pal " of Homer's in the sixties. He recalls 
how Homer visited him once at West Point, and how on 
waking in the morning he found him up and dressed in time 
to see the sunrise ; " he got up and sat on the window sill 
at sunrise, fascinated, watching it over the garden." These 
glimpses are but fleeting, yet they help to picture the man 
as he was. 

His determination to become a painter had long since 
been made. He attended the night school of the National 
Academy of Design, then in Thirteenth Street, under Pro- 
fessor Cummings's tuition ; and for one month, in the old 
Dodworth Building, near Grace Church, he took lessons in 
painting of M. Rondel, an artist from Boston, who, once a 
week, on Saturdays, taught him how to handle his brush, 
set his palette, etc. This Frederic Rondel, a French artist, 
then in great repute in New York as a teacher, would in all 
likelihood have been vastly astonished could he have fore- 
seen that his extremely slight connection with the then un- 
known young pupil would prove eventually to be his chief 
title to distinction. How much did he really teach young 
Homer ? Not much, in one month, giving him a lesson a 
week, even allowing that he was a wonderful teacher. I am 
inclined to believe that the young man got more useful 
instruction in the night school of the National Academy, 
and it would not be surprising to learn that he got still 


more useful hints from the fellow-painters who dropped in 
to smoke and chat in the Washington Square studio. 

The first drawings by Homer published in " Harper's 
Weekly " after his arrival in New York appeared in Decem- 
ber, 1859. A double-page illustration entitled "A Merry 
Christmas and a Happy New Year" (signed W. Ho7ner, 
del.) was published on December 24. This design was di- 
vided in four panels, the subjects being respectively " A 
Children's Christmas Party," " The Origin of Christmas " 
(the shepherds adoring the Infant Jesus in the stable at Beth- 
lehem), " Fifth Avenue," and " Fifty-ninth Street " — which 
was then a region of squatters' shanties, goats, and ledges, 
soon to make way for the palatial quarter adjoining the 
Central Park. 

" Harper's Weekly" for January 14, i860, contained two 
more Manhattan motives, namely, " The Sleighing Season 
— The Upset," and " A Snow Slide in the City." In the first- 
named drawing a sleigh with three occupants has been over- 
turned near the old "St. Nicholas" road-house, and a man 
and two women are flying headforemost through the air. 
In the second drawing a crowd of foot passengers on a side- 
walk have been overtaken suddenly by a falling mass of 
snow and ice from a house-top, and several victims of the 
mishap are to be seen sprawling on the pavement. On Janu- 
arv' 28, i860, a double-page drawing called " Skating on the 
Ladies' Skating Pond in the Central Park, New York," pre- 
sented an animated composition with a large number of 
figures in it. 

The thirty-fifth exhibition of the National Academy of 
Design, in i860, held in the galleries in Tenth Street, near 
Broadway, contained a drawing of " Skating in the Central 
Park," by the young artist, and there is but little question it 


was the same drawing as that pubhshed in " Harper's 
Weekly." In the summer of i860 (September 15) " Harper's 
Weekly" contained " The Drive in the Central Park," also 
a double-page illustration, showing in the foreground many 
pleasure vehicles with elegantly attired occupants, and a few 
riders. In the background are slopes with diminutive trees, 
but lately set out, and a derrick. Central Park was then in 
its infancy, and Homer was making the most of it as a 

The sort of occasional illustrations which were much in 
vogue in i860 and thereafter are well typified by Homer's 
"Thankgiving Day, i860 — The Two Great Classes of So- 
ciety," a double-page cartoon, which appeared on December 
I. In this design, the two great classes of society referred to 
in the title are classified as "those who have more dinners 
than appetites" and "those who have more appetite than 
dinners." There are no less than eight panels or subdivisions 
in this composition, depicting respectively a fine lady at her 
toilet, having her hair dressed by her maid; a leisurely 
sporting gentleman smoking in front of an open grate fire ; 
a group of smart folk in a box at the opera ; a miser gloat- 
ing over his money in solitude ; a thief robbing a chicken 
roost ; a poor emaciated needlewoman sewing by dim can- 
dle-light in a tenement attic ; two women starving in a 
poverty-stricken lodging where a cradle is to be seen ; and 
a bootblack who has stolen a loaf of bread coming in at the 

The portentous year 1861 marks a decisive turning-point 
in the career of Winslow Homer. He was now twenty-five 
years of age, for several years had been able to support 
himself by his black-and-white work, and was ready to take 
advantage of the momentous historic events which fol- 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. E. H. Bern- 

heimer, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. W. A. 



lowed fast upon the inauguration of President Lincoln in 
March, 1861. The Art Journal historian laconically remarks: 
" Funds being scarce, he got an appointment from the 
Harpers as artist-correspondent at the seat of war, and went 
to Washington, where he drew sketches of Lincoln's inau- 
guration, and afterwards to the front with the first batch of 
soldier-volunteers." The illustrations of the inauguration of 
the President published by "Harper's Weekly" on March 
16, 1861, are not signed, and the same is true of the sub- 
sequent Washington subjects published on April 27 and 
June 8, which, however, are in all probability worked up 
from hasty sketches made on the spot by " our special artist 
in Washington." The number for March 16 contained a 
large double-page view of the inaugural ceremony at the 
Capitol, a picture of the procession, and a drawing of Lin- 
coln and Buchanan entering the Senate Chamber. The 
number for April 27 contained a drawing of "General 
Thomas Swearing in the Volunteers called into the Service 
of the United States at Washington." The issue of June 8 
contained a stirring drawing of " The Advance Guard of the 
Grand Army of the United States Crossing the Long Bridge 
over the Potomac at 2 A. M. on May 24, 1861." 

There could be no shadow of doubt as to the authorship 
of the "Harper's Weekly" war illustrations that followed, 
even were they unsigned. " The War — Making Havelocks 
for the Volunteers" was published on June 29. It was signed: 
Homer. This group of ladies busily sewing in an interior 
brings back one of the phases of the early days of the great 
war. A double-page drawing entitled " Songs of the War " 
followed on November 23, 1861. At the lower left corner is 
a marching regiment singing the refrain of that stirring song 
about John Brown's Body : " Glory Hallelujah ! " At the 


lower right corner " Dixie " is symbolized by a negro 
seated on a barrel labeled " Contraband." Above are ap- 
propriate illustrations to the popular songs, " The Bold Sol- 
dier Boy," "Hail to the Chief" (with a figure of General 
McClellan), "We'll be Free and Easy Still," "The Rogue's 
March," and " The Giri I Left Behind Me." 

But the earliest drawing duly signed by Homer which 
bears unmistakable internal evidence of having been made 
at the front is the " Bivouac Fire on the Potomac," of De- 
cember 21, 1 86 1. This double-page illustration represents a 
picturesque firelight effect, and contains about forty figures. 
In the foreground two soldiers are playing cards. Near the 
fire is a negro playing on a fiddle and another negro 
dancing. The rest of the men are either sitting or lying on 
the ground, smoking and watching the dancer. In the dim 
background are tents, and the nocturnal sky with the moon 
peeping from behind the clouds. 

A week later was published a double-page illustration of 
the " Great Fair Given at the City Assembly Rooms, New 
York, December, 1861, in Aid of the City Poor." January 
18, 1862, is the date of a country scene, a moonlight effect, 
with twelve figures, entitled "The Skating Season, 1862." 
Thereafter for a year at least these peaceful episodes had no 
more place in the programme. 

General McClellan's Peninsular campaign was begun in 
the spring of 1862 with high hopes. The Army of the 
Potomac was landed from troop-ships at Fort Monroe, Old 
Point Comfort, Virginia, and marched towards Yorktown, 
the historic little village on the banks of the York River, 
where Lord Cornwallis had surrendered his British army to 
the combined forces of Washington and Rochambeau in 
1781. The Army of the Potomac in 1862 had just been 


organized, and, although composed of excellent material, 
^as inexperienced, and, what was still more certain to nega- 
tive all its plans and efforts, it was commanded by a gen- 
eral who was fatally deficient in initiative, decision, and 
self-confidence. It appears to be evident, from the inter- 
esting and historically valuable series of drawings by Homer 
published in "Harper's Weekly" in the months of May, 
June, and July, 1862, that " our special artist, Mr. Winslow 
Homer," was with the Army of the Potomac throughout the 
greater part of the Peninsular campaign, beginning with the 
so-called Siege of Yorktown in April, and ending with the 
Battle of Malvern Hill in July. This brief, disappointing, 
and disastrous campaign, in which, however, the defeated 
army of the Union inflicted severe punishment upon the 
Southern forces, afforded many alluring opportunities to the 
military' artist, — brisk and bitter fighting, forced marches, 
and all the pageantry of an active campaign in the heart 
of the enemy's country, with the thousand-and-one scenes 
and episodes, amusing or pathetic, of bivouac and camp. 
By our venturesome young man of twenty-six the hardships 
of the campaign, which the artist naturally had to share 
with the rank and file of the army, were accepted with phi- 
losophy. The majority of his drawings offer convincing in- 
ternal evidence that they were made from life and on the 
spot ; moreover, they differ radically from any and all pre- 
ceding war illustrations, attempting no idealization of the 
stem and sordid aspects of the subject, but describing with 
the strictest veracity and with that accent of unexpected 
and unconventional candor which is already Winslow 
Homer's exclusive personal cachet, just those little things in 
army life which had before passed unobserved or unheeded 
by the military painters of other schools. Most of the series 


pertaining to the Peninsular campaign deal with events of 
the earlier part of the campaign, that is to say, from York- 
town up to the first of the engagements in the vicinity of 
Richmond, at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines. Of the succeed- 
ing Seven Days' Battles, from Gaines's Mill to Malvern 
Hill, we find here no record, from which it may be fairly in- 
ferred that Homer had left the front before McClellan's 
" change of base." 

It will not escape the notice of the observer who studies 
the war drawings made by Homer that he not choose 
for his motives, as a rule, the customary battle scenes, with 
long lines of troops advancing or retreating, clouds of gun- 
powder smoke, heroic officers waving their swords and 
calling upon their men to " Come on ! " — and all the rest of 
the stock material of the School of Versailles. Quite the 
contrary : he, who, as we shall see later, was sensitively 
conscious of the dramatic possibilities of every subject for 
a picture, was usually content to sit down and draw such 
compositions as the " Bivouac Fire on the Potomac " of 
1861, the "Thanksgiving in Camp" of 1862, the "Pay Day 
in the Army of the Potomac" of 1863, or the " Holiday in 
Camp — Soldiers Playing Football " of 1865. These may 
possibly be thought comparatively tame and trivial motives, 
at such a time of storm and stress, but candor compels 
the admission that Homer succeeds better in these camp--^ 
life drawings than in his infrequent and soon-abandoned 
excursions into the field of bayonet charges and cavalry 

On going to the front Homer was attached unofficially to 
the staff of a j^oung officer who was to distinguish himself 
by brilliant services later in the war, and who did everything 
in his power to help the young artist and to facilitate his 

From a drawing engraved on wood by W. H. Morse for 
Every Saturday, Boston, February 4, 1871 


From a drawing engraved on wood by G. A. Avery for 

Every Saturday, Boston, January 14, 1871 


work. This was Colonel Francis C. Barlow, who, promoted 
on his merits, step by step, through all the Virginia cam- 
paigns, at length attained the important position of Brevet 
Major-General in command of a division of the Second 

The pass issued to Homer from the Provost Marshal's 
office in Washington bears the date of April i, 1862, and 
the reproduction of it here has been made from the original 
in the possession of Mr. Arthur B. Homer. The original is 
somewhat discolored by time, moisture, and the wear and 
tear incidental to a long sojourn in the pocket of the 

The first three drawings of the series illustrating the events 
and incidents of the Peninsular campaign were published in 
"Harper's Weekly "on May 17, 1862. These drawings repre- 
sented episodes which evidently came under the direct ob- 
sers'ation of the artist at Yorktown. They are : " Rebels 
Outside their Works at Yorktown Reconnoitring with Dark 
Lanterns," " The Charge of the First Massachusetts Regi- 
ment on a Rebel Rifle Pit near Yorktown," and " The Union 
Cavalry and Artillery Starting in Pursuit of the Rebels up 
the Yorktown Turnpike." On June 7, a drawing entitled 
" The Army of the Potomac — Our Outlying Picket in the 
Woods" was published. Next, a double-page cartoon enti- 
tled " News from the War," which was duly credited to " Our 
Special Artist, Mr. Winslow Homer," appeared on June 14. 
This comprised six related themes, grouped under the one 
general head. " The Newspaper Train" showed the arrival 
of the train at a station near the army headquarters; 
"Wounded" represented a weeping wife who has just re- 
ceived a telegram ; " News for the Staff " and " News for the 
Fleet" illustrated the eager interest with which letters from 


home were received ; " From Richmond " suggested the 
keen anxiety with which tidings from the prisoners were 
awaited ; and finally in the drawing of " Our Special Artist" 
we see Homer himself sitting on a barrel and sketching the 
full-length likenesses of two giants belonging to one of the 
western regiments, E. Farrin and J. J. Handley, who were 
said to be six feet and seven inches tall. 

On July 5, Homer's drawing of "A Cavalry Charge" was 
published; and on July 12 he contributed two drawings, 
namely, " The Surgeon at Work at the Rear during an En- 
gagement," and "The War for the Union, 1862 — A Bayo- 
net Charge." According to a short article in " Harper's 
Weekly" of July 12, these drawings are " by our artist, Mr. 
Winslow Homer, who spent some time with the Army of the 
Potomac, and drew his figures from life." "The Bayonet 
Charge," adds the writer, " is one of the most spirited pic- 
tures ever published in this country." It depicts a hand-to- 
hand encounter of infantry, presumably in one of the engage- 
ments near the Chickahominy, and possibly at the Battle of 
Fair Oaks, although there is room for some doubt as to this 
point. There was a charge of five regiments of the Second 
Corps, under General Edwin V. Sumner, near the Adams 
house, just northeast of the Fair Oaks station, towards the 
close of the day. May 31, one result of which was the capture 
of three field officers and about one hundred men from the 
rebel forces. The episode is quite elaborately described in 
General Francis A. Walker's " History of the Second Army 
Corps," on pages 34, 35, 36, and 37. This charge was made 
by the Fifteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts, the Seventh 
Michigan, the Thirty-fourth and Eighty-second New York 
regiments. But, on the other hand, General Francis W. Palfrey, 
who at that time commanded the Twentieth Massachusetts, 


in his comments on Fair Oaks [vide " The Peninsular Cam- 
paign of General McClellan in 1862," vol. i of the Papers of 
the Militar}^ Historical Society of Massachusetts, 1881), makes 
the disillusionizing remark: "I know that our so-called 
charge was only a rapid and spirited advance. I do not be- 
lieve that a man in the five or six regiments which took part 
in it used the bayonet." 

On November 15, a drawing entitled " The Army of the 
Potomac — A Sharpshooter on Picket Duty" was published 
in "Harper's Weekly," with the legend, " From a painting by 
W. Homer, Esq." It shows a soldier sitting on the limb of a 
great pine tree, far above the gfround, aiming his rifle with 
the utmost care, resting the barrel on a branch to steady it. 
His canteen, hanging on a bough near at hand, suggests 
that the sharpshooter has taken up his lofty position with the 
forethought that he does not intend to be driven to abandon 
his coign of vantage by thirst. On November 29, Homer de- 
scribes, not without a touch of humor, " Thanksgiving in 
Camp." The scene takes place in front of a sutler's tent, 
where crudely painted signs announce that pies, herring, 
cider, etc., are for sale. A dozen or more figures of soldiers, 
who are eating, drinking, smoking, gossiping, are shown in 
this exceedingly unsentimental composition. 

"A Shell in the Rebel Trenches," which was published in 
" Harper's Weekly " on January 17, 1863, represented negroes 
cowering and throwing themselves on the ground as a shell 
exploded. " Winter Quarters in Camp — The Inside of a 
Hut" was published a week later. In this drawing, to quote 
the explanatory text which accompanied it, " Mr. Homer 
shows us the interior of a hut, in which a glowing fire is 
blazing, shedding light and warmth around. Stretched on 
the floor, bunks, and seats, are soldiers in every imaginable 


position, — smoking, chatting, reading, card playing, and 
sleeping. Almost in every company there is one sharp-witted 
fellow who can tell a good story. The soldiers' great delight 
is to get this man into a tent or hut, and start him on a good 
long old-fashioned yarn, which lasts from dark until far on 
in the night." 

" Pay Day in the Army of the Potomac " was a double- 
page drawing, published on February 28, 1863. The four 
panels composing the design were respectively devoted to 
" Pay Day," " A Descent on the Sutler," " Sending Money 
Home," and "The Letter." 

The first sea picture in black-and-white ever signed by 
Homer was published in " Harper's Weekly " for April 25, 
1863. Its title was " The Approach of the British Pirate ' Ala- 
bama.' " The scene was the deck of an American merchant 
vessel. An ofifiicer, in the centre of a group of figures, was 
looking through a telescope. On the far horizon a ship was 
visible. Four women were gazing at the hostile craft with an 
expression of apprehension. 

"Home from the War " appeared in the "Weekly" for 
June 13, 1863. It represented mothers, wives, and sweethearts 
welcoming the returning soldiers. On November 21, 1863, 
Homer signed a drawing of double-page size depicting " The 
Great Russian Ball at the Academy of Music" which had 
been one of the features of the timely visit of the Russian 
fleet early in that month. 

His first oil paintings were pictures of war scenes. They 
were begun in 1862, immediately after his return to his New 
York studio from the Peninsular campaign. The earliest of 
them all was "The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty," already 
mentioned. Its size was about sixteen by twenty inches. Mr. 
R. M. Shurtlefi, the landscape painter, has related how he 















































































W < 



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a ■* 





S X 




O Co 

■-1 -« ?^ 







sat with Homer in the studio many days while he was at 
work on this picture, and he remembers discussing with him 
how much it would be advisable to ask for it. " He decided 
not less than sixty dollars, as that was what Harper paid him 
for a full-page drawing on the wood." When " The Sharp- 
shooter" was completed, he placed it, with another picture,^ 
in an exhibition, and declared that if they were not sold he 
would give up painting and accept Harper & Brothers' pro- 
position. The two pictures were bought by a stranger, whose 
name the artist learned only after a lapse of seven years. This 
may have been a crisis in his career. 

After disposing of "The Sharpshooter," he felt greatly en- 
couraged. He went on with his oil paintings and completed 
" Rations," " Home, Sweet Home," and " The Last Goose at 
Yorktown." " Rations " is a small upright painting, eighteen 
by twelve inches in dimensions, which was finished in 1863 
from studies made in 1862. It became the property of Mr. 
Thomas B. Clarke of New York, and was sold for five hun- 
dred dollars at the Clarke sale in 1899, the buyer being Mr. 
E. H. Bemheimer of New York. The description of this pic- 
ture in the Clarke catalogue is as follows : — 

"There are hard times in camp. Rations are short and 
the sutler's shed, under its arbor of pine boughs in the fore- 
ground, is the cynosure of many hungry eyes. One cam- 
paigner, happy in the possession of funds, is seated on the 
rude plank table at the sutler's door complacently devouring 
a huge segment of cheese as a flavor for his hard-tack. An- 
other trooper leans upon a shelf and watches his occupation 
with a melancholy born of an empty purse and a craving 

* A picture of a soldier being punished for intoxication. Of this Homer him- 
self said, many years afterwards, " It is about as beautiful and interesting as the 
button on a barn-door." 


stomach, with nothing but unflavored hard-tack to fall back 
upon. The humor of the situation is accentuated by the side 
glance which the lucky enjoyer of extra rations — who is a 
private soldier — casts upon his neighbor, whose uniform 
shows him to be an officer a few grades above him in rank. 
In the background are seen the tent lines of the encampment 
and the troop horses." 

" Defiance " is the title given to a small oil painting, meas- 
uring twelve by twenty inches, of an episode in the Peninsular 
campaign which came under the artist's personal observa- 
tion. In the foreground is a line of hastily constructed earth- 
works, behind which are many figures of soldiers. A negro 
near the foreground is playing on the banjo. A foolhardy 
young infantry private has climbed up on the top of the en- 
trenchments, in full view of the enemy, where he stands, with 
his form outlined against the sky, a conspicuous target, strik- 
ing a pose which plainly says : " I dare you to shoot me 1" 
Such silly exhibitions of bravado were probably more com- 
mon in the very early days of the war than they were later. 
The landscape in this picture illustrates how a country oc- 
cupied by two armies looks after the trees have been cut 
down to facilitate the operations of the artillery ; out in front 
of the entrenchments there is a ghastly neutral zone dotted 
with stumps, extending to the distant line of works occupied 
by the enemy's forces. This interesting and little-known pic- 
ture was for many years in the collection of Mr. Frederick S. 
Gibbs of New York. At the sale of the Gibbs collection in 
1904, it was bought by Mr. T. R. Ball, for three hundred and 
twenty-five dollars. 

"The Last Goose at Yorktown" and "Home, Sweet 
Home" were exhibited at the National Academy of 1863. 
These two works, both of them illustrating camp scenes be- 


fore Yorktown, were the first oil paintings ever exhibited at 
the Academy by Winslow Homer. "Home, Sweet Home" 
represented the soldiers of McClellan's army listening, per- 
haps with a touch of homesickness, to the playing of a regi- 
mental band. "The Last Goose at Yorktown," an amusing 
incident of the early days of the Peninsular campaign, was 
bought by Mr. Dean of New York. It may well be supposed 
that the exhibition of these war scenes during the stress and 
excitement of 1863 served to draw the public attention to the 
young artist in no ordinar}^ degree. 

After returning from the seat of war to his New York 
studio Homer made a series of six lithographs which he pub- 
lished under the general title of " Campaign Sketches." These 
small lithographs depict camp scenes, such as " The Coffee 
Call," and similar incidents of army life, in the same vein as 
many of the illustrations already described. 

At that period of his life Homer was a good-looking and 
alert young man of twenty-seven. He was genial and friendly 
in his manner, was not averse to society, dressed with scru- 
pulous neatness and in good taste, and, in his quiet way, was 
fond of fun. Calling, one day, at the studio of an artist ac- 
quaintance in Boston, he pulled a handful of ribbons from 
his pocket, and remarked, with a twinkle in his eyes, that he 
had been shopping. 

"What do you want of so many ribbons?" asked his 

He explained that he did not want the ribbons, but he had 
bought them in order to make a pretext for going into the 
stores and talking with the pretty sales-girls. Whenever he 
saw a pretty face in the stores he would stop and buy some 

He was invited out a good deal, and appeared to enjoy 


society. " He had the usual number of love affairs when he 
was a young man," said one who knew him well at that time; 
but Mr. Baker told me that he always spoke of women " in a 
remote tone," as of a subject which did not closely or person- 
ally interest him. 



1864-1871. ^tat. 28-35 

Pictures of Camp Life — Made an Academician — " The Bright Side" — 
" Pitching Quoits" — " Prisoners from the Front" — First Voyage to Europe 
— What he did not do — " The SaU-Boat " — Drawings for "Every Satur- 

ENCOURAGED by the interest shown in his paintings 
of war scenes, Homer continued to produce pictures 
of camp life as he had observed it in the Army of the 
Potomac. At the National Academy of Design of 1864 he 
exhibited his "In Front of the Guard-House" and "The 
Briarwood Pipe." He was made an associate of the National 
Academy that year, and was elected an Academician the 
following year, when still under thirty years of age. It is of in- 
terest to note that Elihu Vedder and Seymour J. Guy were 
elected Academicians the same year as Homer. Eastman 
Johnson had been elected five years earlier. John La Farge 
became an Academician in 1869. Frederic E. Church's 
election dated from 1849. George Inness and A. H. Wyant 
were elected in. 1868 and 1869 respectively. The exhibition 
of 1864 was held in the galleries of a building known as the 
Institute of Art, at 625 Broadway, but that of 1865 was the 
first exhibition held in the then new building of the Academy, 
on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street, a 
structure of white and gray marble in the Venetian Gothic 
style, which was regarded as a splendid monument of archi- 
tecture, and was often spoken of as a modified copy of the 


Ducal Palace at Venice. Homer, from the day of his election, 
in 1865, to his death, in 1910, continued to be a loyal member 
of the Academy, and regularly exhibited his most important 
oil paintings there for a quarter of a century. 

The year of his election, 1865, he sent three paintings to the 
Academy exhibition. They were "The Bright Side," "Pitch- 
ing Quoits," and "The Initials." "The Bright Side," a small 
canvas, about thirteen inches high by seventeen inches wide, 
was quite generally pronounced the best oil painting that the 
youngartist had made up to that time. " Four negro teamsters 
are lying in the sun against the side of a tent. The man at 
the right wears a battered high hat, a military coat, and top 
boots, and holds a whip in his left hand ; beyond his raised 
knee is the head of the second figure in a peaked military cap. 
The next one wears a red shirt and broad-brimmed gray hat, 
and his hands are clasped back of his head; the farthest one, 
with arms folded, wears a broad-brimmed military hat. In the 
opening of the tent is the head of another negro with a broad- 
brimmed hat ; a corn-cob pipe is in his mouth. Beyond, at 
the left, are commissariat wagons with rounded canvas tops, 
and near by are unharnessed mules. In the distance is the 
camp. In the immediate foreground, at the right, part of a 
barrel shows." ' 

This was the first work in color to show any positive pro- 
mise of what Homer's talent for actuality might become. 
The figures of the negro teamsters are admirably character- 
ized, though they are of the nigger-minstrel type of Cullud 
Gemmen ; they are well drawn and quite living. This picture 
was bought by Mr. W. H. Hamilton. Later it passed into 
the possession of Mr. Lawson Valentine, and still later it was 

^ Catalogue of the memorial exhibition of 191 1 at the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art, New York. 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Richard 
H. Ewart, New York 


acquired by Mr. Thomas B. Clarke. At the Clarke sale in 1899 
it was bought by Mr. Samuel P. Avery, Jr., for five hundred 
and twenty-five dollars ; and it is now in the collection of 
Mr. W. A. White. 

The painting entitled " Pitching Quoits," another camp 
scene, has been known generally since its first appearance 
in 1865 as "Zouaves Pitching Quoits." Although a good 
deal larger than " The Bright Side," it is more ordinary in 
color, and less interesting in characterization. The scene was 
one that the young artist witnessed in the camps of the Army 
of the Potomac in front of Washington before the army 
moved down to the Peninsula of Virginia under McClellan 
in 1862. A group of eight or nine of the volunteers from 
New York wearing the uniforms of the Hawkins Zouaves — 
poor fellows ! the amount of chaffing they had to endure on 
account of their absurd uniforms must have been a worse or- 
deal than going under the fire of the enemy ! — are diverting 
themselves by playing that good old game of quoits. Three 
of the figures at the right are nearest the foreground, and 
one of these is in the act of pitching the quoit. Another group 
of the men, about ten yards away, to the left, watch his at- 
tempt. In the background are rows of tents, and a sutler's 
store, with an extemporized awning of boughs — the same 
that was introduced in " Rations." This was the largest 
canvas that the artist had painted ; its interest, at the time 
purely illustrative, is now chiefly historic ; and it must be 
frankly confessed that, though everything relating to the 
Civil War is of value, no one would have ventured to pre- 
dict the future greatness of the painter on the basis of this 
performance in 1865. The picture now belongs to Mr. Fred- 
eric H. Curtiss, and it made its reappearance, after many 
years, in the Boston memorial exhibition of 191 1. 


The only drawings published in "Harper's Weekly " in 1864 
were: "'Anything for Me, if You Please?'" a scene in 
the post-office of the Brooklyn fair in aid of the Sanitary 
Commission (signed Homer on one of the letters) ; and 
"Thanksgiving Day in the Army: — After Dinner: The 
Wish-Bone" ("Drawn by W. Homer"). The drawings pub- 
lished in 1865 were three in number : " Holiday in Camp — 
Soldiers Playing Football," July 15 ; " Our Watering-Places 
— Horse-Racing at Saratoga," August 26 (the design show- 
ing the crowd of spectators in the grand-stand, watching the 
finish of an exciting race); and "Our Watering-Places — 
The Empty Sleeve at Newport," August 26, an illustration to 
a story in the same issue of the paper. 

It was not until the war was over that Homer exhibited 
his most celebrated war painting, " Prisoners from the Front." 
This work appeared at the National Academy exhibition of 
1866, together with one other painting, " The Brush Harrow." 

"Prisoners from the Front" served to confirm the favora- 
ble impression which had been made by "The Bright Side." 
Mr. CafBn ^ writes that this picture made a profound impres- 
sion. " Popular excitement was at fever heat, so the picture 
fitted the hour; but it would not have enlisted such an enthu- 
siastic reception if it had not approximated in intensity to 
the pitch of the people's feeling. It has, in fact, the elements 
of a great picture, quite apart from its association with the 
circumstances of the time : a subject admirably adapted to 
pictorial representation, explaining itself at once, offering 
abundant opportunity for characterization, and in its treat- 
ment free from any triviality. On the contrary, the painter 
has felt beyond the limits of the episode itself the profound 

1 American Masters of Painting, by Charles H. CafEn. New York: Double- 
day, Page & Co., 1906. 


significance of the struggle in which this was but an eddy, 
and in the generalization of his theme has imparted to it 
the character of a type." 

The picture was bought by John Taylor Johnston ; was 
exhibited at the Paris International Exposition of 1867; 
also at the Centennial Loan Exhibition of 1876, held in 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at 128 West Fourteenth 
Street, New York ; and, at the sale of the Johnston collection 
in 1876, was sold to the late Samuel P. Avery, the picture 
dealer, for eighteen hundred dollars. Mr. Avery sold it to a 
collector, and when the committee which had charge of 
the Homer Memorial Exhibition of 191 1 in New York tried 
to ascertain its whereabouts and ownership, it was found to 
be impossible to locate it. Mr. Bryson Burroughs, curator of 
the department of paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, informs me : — 

"We were not able to find the name of the owner of 
' Prisoners from the Front.' We corresponded with a Mrs. 

, No. — West Street, who knows about the picture, 

but she was not at liberty to give the owner's name. She 
was approached by several people in regard to it, but al- 
ways gave the same response." 

The committee even induced Mr. Charles S. Homer to 
open a correspondence with the lady, but she remained ob- 
durate, and addressed her reply to " Miss Homer." 

While Homer was painting " Prisoners from the Front " 
and the rest of the army subjects of that period, he had a 
lay figure, which was alternately dressed up in the blue uni- 
form of the Union soldier and the butternut gray of the 
Confederate soldier, serving with soulless impartiality, now 
as a Northerner and now as a Southerner. One day, while 
he was at work on the roof of the University Building, 


where he had posed his effigy in order to get the effect of 
the full sunlight on his figure, a sudden gust of wind came 
up and was like to have carried the lay figure off the roof 
before the artist could catch it and secure it. 

It has been stated repeatedly that Homer owed his 
election as an Academician to the picture of " Prisoners from 
the Front," and this would seem strange in view of the fact 
that his election occurred in 1865, while the picture was not 
exhibited in the Academy until 1866, did we not know how 
quickly the news of a successful picture spreads through 
the little world of the studios. John La Farge, as late as 
19 10, when, on his death-bed in the Butler Hospital at Pro- 
vidence, Rhode Island, he dictated a pathetic tribute to 
Homer, in a letter to Mr. Gustav Kobbe, the art editor of 
the " New York Herald," remembered the " Prisoners from 
the Front," and thus spoke of it : — 

" He made a marvellous painting-, marvellous in every 
way, but especially in the grasp of the moment, the painting 
of the ' Prisoners at the Front ' when General Barlow re- 
ceived the surrender of the Confederates. Strange to say, 
because usually there are objections, this man was accepted, 
I believe, by everybody." 

The impression must have been indeed strong to remain 
in La Farge's busy mind for forty-four years. 

It was in 1866 that Homer assisted in organizing the Amer- 
ican Watercolor Society, though at that period he had not 
painted any watercolors. Later in the history of the society's 
annual exhibitions, as will be shown, he won some of his most 
legitimate laurels in this field. The opening exhibition of the 
new society in New York was the first general exhibition of 
watercolors ever held in America. 

In 1867 Homer made his first voyage to Europe. This was 


From the drawing in the collection of Mr. Horace D. 
Chapin, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. 
Hooper estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Law- 



the year of one of the first great international expositions in 
Paris. Two of his paintings were exhibited there : " Prisoners 
from the Front " and " The Bright Side." Of them the " Lon- 
don Art Journal," November i, 1867, said: "In genre, and 
scenes simply domestic, American painters, as might be an- 
ticipated, are more at home than in history. Certainly most 
capital for touch, character, and vigor, are a couple of little 
pictures, taken from the recent war, by Mr. Winslow Homer, 
of New York. These works are real : the artist paints what 
he has seen and known." A great many high-flown art 
criticisms have not the force of this simple comment, " These 
works are real." Paul Mantz, the French art critic, in an arti- 
cle published in the " Gazette des Beaux-Arts," wrote that 
" Mr. Winslow Homer in justice ought not to be passed by 
unobserved. There is facial expression and subtilty in his 
' Prisoners from the Front ' [Prtsonniers confederei) ; we like 
much also the ' Bright Side ' {Le Cdtk clair), which shows a 
group of soldiers stretched out in the sun near a tent. This 
is a firm, precise painting, in the manner of Ger6me, but 
with less dryness." 

Homer received no of^cial recognition, however, at Paris. 
The only award given to any American artist was the medal 
conferred on Frederic E. Church. Albert Schenck, a well- 
known painter of animals, especially noted for his pictures 
of sheep, who was a member of the international jury on 
paintings, told the late Thomas Robinson that four mem- 
bers of the jury voted to give a medal to Homer, but there 
were not votes enough to carry the motion. The Goupils 
were then publishing reproductions of Church's landscapes, 
including his " Niagara," and he was better known to Eu- 
ropeans than any other American painter of the time. Wil- 
liam Morris Hunt was an exhibitor, but his work showed so 


plainly the influence of Millet and Couture that the French 
artists justly deemed him far less original than Homer. 

It does not appear that much attention was bestowed upon 
the works of the American artists. The number of the exhib- 
its was relatively insignificant, and the pictures were tucked 
away in an obscure corner of the art department. I have 
searched through the files of the French, English, and Amer- 
ican art periodicals of 1867 without finding any mention of 
the American art section, with the exception of those in the 
"Art Journal" and "Gazette des Beaux-Arts" which have 
been quoted. 

After the close of the Paris Exposition "Prisoners from 
the Front" and "The Bright Side" were sent to Brussels 
and to Antwerp, where they were shown in two international 
exhibitions, and, according to a report from the then Amer- 
ican Minister to Belgium, Mr. Henry Sanford, these two 
works, with others by American painters, were highly suc- 
cessful. Henry T. Tuckerman's " Book of the Artists," pub- 
lished in New York in 1867, states: — 

" At the late Fine Arts Exhibitions in Antwerp and Brus- 
sels, several landscapes by American painters attracted much 
attention. The American Minister at Belgium, Mr. Sanford, 
writes that an artist of Brussels of much merit and celebrity 
declared the works of our artists there exhibited to be among 
the most characteristic of the kind ever brought to that city, 
and that admiring crowds were gathered around them at all 
hours. . . . Winslow Homer's strongly defined war sketches 
are examined with much curiosity, especially the well-known 
canvas, ' Prisoners from the Front.' " 

The praise of the unnamed Brussels artist of celebrity and 
merit is not extravagant. " Among the most characteristic of 
the kind" is even a little bit ambiguous. But it is quite a 


gratifying thing to have an admiring crowd in front of one's 
picture at all hours : that at least is a substantial and com- 
forting evidence of success. 

Homer spent ten months in France. At the end of that time 
his money gave out, and he was obliged to return home. He 
did no studying and no serious work of any kind worth men- 
tioning while he was in Paris, and it is probable that he de- 
voted most of his time to sight-seeing and recreation. He 
did make a series of studies of the figures of dancing girls 
at the Jardin Mabille and the Casino de Paris, somewhat after 
the manner of Degas's subjects, though totally different in 
style, but I am not aware that he ever worked these up into 
pictures. The two drawings of Parisian public balls, "Danc- 
ing at the Casino" and " Dancing at the Mabille," which he 
sent to " Harper's Weekly," and which were published on Nov- 
ember 25, 1867, were almost wholly in outline, with but little 
shading. In one of these drawings the Can- Can is in progress 
for the special delectation of tourists, with the usual feats of 
high kicking by the paid danseuses ; and in the other a couple 
are waltzing madly, the man having spun his partner so 
swiftly that both her feet have left the floor. 

What he did not do while he was in France is somewhat 
significant. He did not enter the atelier of the most renowned 
French master ; he did not make copies of the famous master- 
pieces in the Louvre ; he did not go to Concarneau or to Grez 
or to any of the favorite painting-grounds of the young Amer- 
ican artists ; and he did not, so far as is known, make many 
friends among his fellow-artists. That he visited the Louvre 
and the Luxembourg and the Cluny and the picture galle- 
ries of the international exposition may be taken for granted; 
but what he thought of all that he saw there he never told 
anybody. It is a fact of the most vital import that the great 


works of the masters in the galleries of the Old World made 
a less permanent impression upon his mind than the three 
thousand miles of ocean that he had to cross, going and com- 
ing. Who shall say that he was not manifesting uncommon 
sagacity in giving deeper attention to the works of Nature 
than to those of Man ? That first long sea voyage was un- 
questionably one of the factors that eventually determined 
his choice of motives, although it was not until the eighties 
that he began to specialize in marine painting and to devote 
his energies solely to the great theme with which his name 
and fame were to be associated. 

Soon after his return to New York, he contributed to " Har- 
per's Weekly" a double-page drawing entitled "Homeward 
Bound," representing the scene on the deckof an ocean steam- 
ship, with the figures of many passengers. The observer is sup- 
posed to be looking forward along the port side of the deck, 
and the ship is rolling considerably to port. One sees no 
steamer-chairs such as are so universally used nowadays. Sev- 
eral officers are seen on the bridge, and one of them is look- 
ing through a marine glass at a school of porpoises or 
dolphins which are disporting themselves off the port bow. 
This interesting drawing was published on December 21,1867. 
Three weeks later a drawing called " Art Students and Copy- 
ists in the Louvre Galler}^ Paris," served to show conclu- 
sively where the artist had spent a good part of his time 
while in the French capital. The Long Gallery of the Louvre 
was shown in perspective, with many copyists at work, both 
men and women. Soon after his return to New York, Homer 
met J. Foxcroft Cole and Joseph E. Baker in Astor Place, and 
invited them to come into his University Building studio, 
where he showed them a number of studies of dancing girls ; 
there was also a drawing of one of the rooms in the Louvre 


From the drawing belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence. 


From the drawing belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 

estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 

Aco'^i .'^?T b-^wrbS st\\ o\ ; 

I ->\J y.k\i .'J-LJ \i' 

Vc.i\avi?Dd .ktafe.: AoAl <:«0k0v 

jit-jtv-^av. v<vS^ 


where the antique marbles are exhibited. Cole, commenting 
on Homer's naivete, pointed out that in the latter drawing 
the imperfections of the statues were clearly to be discerned. 

A small oil painting entitled "Musical Amateurs" was fin- 
ished and dated in 1867. It is a picture of two men play- 
ing violin and 'cello in a studio interior. The hands are poorly 
drawn, and the figures are somewhat lacking in modeling. 
It is, however, executed with such evident sincerity of pur- 
pose as to be thoroughly convincing, despite its shortcom- 
ings. "It has the mark of a man who was in dead earnest," 
remarks J. Nilsen Laurvik, "even though one might not at 
that time have been able to predict from this canvas the com- 
ing master." 

In the National Academy of 1868 Homer exhibited "The 
Studio," "Picardie," "A Study," and "Confederate Prison- 
ers at the Front," the last-named work being in all proba- 
bility the same picture as the " Prisoners from the Front," 
first shown in 1866, since it is accredited in the catalogue to 
the J. Taylor Johnston collection. It would be considered a 
most exceptional, indeed, a preposterous thing, nowadays, 
to exhibit the same picture twice within two years in the 
Academy ; but in endeavoring to account for this proceed- 
ing I suppose we must remember that the Academy in 1868 
was a close corporation, with more or less of a family at- 
mosphere, and it is also to be borne in mind that by com- 
mon consent this picture was deemed the most successful 
delineation of a scene from the Civil War, so much so that 
its reappearance may have been allowed in response to 
something like a popular demand. 

The "Harper's Weekly" drawings of 1868 included: 
"Winter — A Skating Scene," published January 25 ; "St. 
Valentine's Day — The Old Story in All Lands," published 


Februarjr 22 ; " The Morning Walk — Young Ladies' School 
Promenading the Avenue,'' published March 28; "Fire- 
works on the Night of the Fourth of July," published July 
II (an amusing view of the upturned faces of the crowd illu- 
minated by the glare of the fireworks, and at the right of 
the foreground, a fallen rocket-stick striking the crown of a 
silk hat, jamming it down over the head of the astonished 
wearer) ; " New England Factory Life — ' Bell-Time,' " pub- 
lished July 25, soon after one of his occasional visits to his 
brother Charles, at Lawrence, Massachusetts, where the 
great army of operatives is seen crossing a bridge over the 
canal which supplies the waterpower to one of the huge 
mills ; and, finally, " Our Next President," published October 
31, the design showing a group of five figures, two men and 
three women, drinking a patriotic toast to General Grant, 
whose portrait is seen on the wall. 

From Lawrence he went to Belmont to visit his father and 
mother, and after a few days there he journeyed to the 
White Mountains in search of subjects to paint. He also 
went to Manchester, Massachusetts, and Salem. He ex- 
hibited at the National Academy of Design in 1869 but one 
painting, the " Manchester Coast." His black-and-white 
work of that year ranged from mountain to sea subjects. A 
spirited drawing of seven or eight sailors aloft taking in sail 
in a snow-storm, while far below them we see the after part 
of the deck with two men at the wheel, the foaming wake of 
the vessel, and a dark sea and sky, was published January 
16, and had for its title "Winter at Sea — Taking in Sail off 
the Coast." It gives every internal evidence of being drawn 
from life on the spot, and is, I believe, the first drawing of 
life at sea on a sailing vessel made by the artist. 

As to the drawing of "The Summit of Mount Washing- 


ton," it depicts tourists (of whom the artist himself was one) 
on horseback and afoot, climbing the mountain, by way of 
the old Crawford bridle path, and the summit of the moun- 
tain looms up in the background with its little inn. This 
drawing was made before the completion of the central cog- 
rail railroad up Mount Washington, the invention of Syl- 
vester Marsh, which was finished, however, that same year. 
An oil painting of the same composition bears the date of 
1869, and was exhibited in 1870 under the title of "The 
White Mountains." It belongs to Mrs. W. H. S. Pearce of 
Newton, and was in the memorial exhibition of 191 1 in Bos- 
ton. The scene is at the base of the cone, where a group of 
several saddle horses are standing. The tourists, four in 
number, are resting just before beginning the last stage of the 
climb. All around are the huge rocks which form the peak. 
Two ladies are on horseback, and the two gentlemen who 
accompany them are on foot. In the distance and above, the 
summit is visible through a rift in the clouds. The figures 
and the horses are carefully and well drawn, and, while it 
would be extravagant to call the work great, it is assuredly 
a remarkable production for a man who had been painting 
only four or five years. 

Some of the "Harper's Weekly" illustrations of 1869 in- 
cluded the " Christmas Belles," January 2, representing a 
party of five young women and one man sleighing in a big 
three-seated sleigh ; "The New Year — 1869," a plump boy 
on a bicycle riding through a paper hoop which is held up by 
a coryphee, while poor old 1868 is being borne away ig- 
nominiously in a wheelbarrow by Father Time ; and by way 
of novelty, a court-room scene, " Jurors Listening to Coun- 
sel, Supreme Court, New City Hall, New York," February 
20, of which the editor of the "Weekly" truthfully remarks 


that " the picture is remarkable for its delineation of char- 
acter, apart from its value as a faithful representation of life 
in the arena of jurisprudence." 

The year 1870 was not only exceptionally prolific, but it 
also marked an appreciable advance in respect to Homer's 
art. For at this period his drawing begins to improve notice- 
ably. No less than eleven of his paintings were exhibited 
at the National Academy of Design. They were : " White 
Mountain Wagon," "Sketch from Nature," "Mt. Adams," 
"Sail-Boat," "Salem Harbor," "Lobster Cove,"- "As You 
Like It," "Sawkill River, Pa.," "Eagle Head, Manchester," 
" The White Mountains," and " Manners and Customs at the 

Of these paintings, that which is perhaps as characteristic 
as any is "The Sail-Boat." He repeated this motive in the 
form of a watercolor which is in Mr. Charles S. Homer's col- 
lection. Many a Yankee boy has been fascinated by the 
glorious suggestion of free and buoyant movement in this 
little picture, the luminous and bracing look of the air and 
sea and sky, the keen impression of a big, wholesome, wide 
outdoor world. 

At the same time Homer's indefatigable pencil was as busy 
as ever in the making of drawings for " Harper's Weekly." 
In a double-page cartoon published on January 8, 1870, he 
gave in pictorial form, under the title " 1860-1870," an 
epitome of American history for the decade just closed. 
His review embraced the great events of the War for the 
Union and the period immediately following the close of 
hostilities. Some of the important features of the war were 
suggested, such as the firing on Fort Sumter, the uprising 
of the North, the fight between the Monitor and the Mer- 
rimac, the Proclamation of Emancipation, and the Surrender 



From a drawing engraved on wood for Harper's Weekly, 

June 13, 1874 

''I'P-GMAa 1. ■ M-.9L 


of Lee at Appomattox. He followed this historical essay 
with an unusual example of ethical symbolism, under the 
title of " The Tenth Commandment," which was published 
on March 12. In the centre of the design we see a wife 
kneeling at prayer in church ; and in the four corners of the 
composition are a house, a maid, a servant, and an ox and 
an ass. A drawing published on April 30 represented " Spring 
Farm Work — Grafting." "Spring Blossoms" appeared on 
May 21 : this rustic scene depicted a stone wall and a way- 
side water-trough under the boughs of an apple-tree in full 
blossom ; on the wall three country children were seated. 
The bare-foot boy sitting on one end of the trough dangled 
one foot in the water ; and a young woman was leaning 
against the wall. It was signed with the artist's initials on 
the sail of a tiny toy sail-boat which floated on the water. 
"The Dinner Horn" was published in "Harper's Weekly" 
for June 11. Just outside the door of a farmhouse the buxom 
figure of a young woman, with her back turned towards the 
observ^er, stood as she sounded the dinner call to the men 
who were at work in the fields. This figure was well drawn, 
stood on its feet firmly, and the drapery, which was blown by 
the breeze, was excellently treated. The effect of the sun- 
light on the figure, too, was observed with the most studious 
veracity. The last of the series of drawings for 1870 was 
"On the Bluff at Long Branch, at the Bathing Hour," pub- 
lished on August 6. A group of five ladies were about to 
descend a flight of wooden steps to the bath-houses on 
the edge of the beach below. The strong sea-breeze played 
pranks with their voluminous flounced skirts. A glimpse of 
the beach was given, with many figures of bathers entering 
the surf ; and on the ocean were a number of sailing craft 
in the distance. 


In 1871, Homer contributed a series of full-page drawings 
to " Every Saturday," a short-lived weekly pictorial paper 
published by James R. Osgood & Co., of Boston. This series 
dealt with various everyday scenes of rural life and manners, 
hunting, maritime motives, and the episodes of a summer re- 
sort. The subjects included the following titles : " A Winter 
Morning, — Shovelling Out," " Deer-Stalking in the Adiron- 
dacks in Winter," " Lumbering in Winter," " A Country 
Store, — Getting Weighed," " At Sea, — Signalling a Pass- 
ing Steamer," "Bathing at Long Branch, — 'Oh, Ain't it 
Cold r " and " Cutting a Figure." These drawings as pub- 
lished were approximately nine by twelve inches in dimen- 
sions, and were engraved on wood by W. J. Linton, J. P. 
Davis, G. A. Avery, and other engravers of the period. 

"A Winter Morning, — Shovelling Out" represented a 
farmhouse in Northern New England on the morning after 
a heavy fall of snow. A man and a boy in the foreground 
were making a path through the drifts from the house door 
to the road, or, perhaps, to the barn. As they stood on the 
ground the surface of the snow came nearly to the level of 
the shoulders of one of the shovelers, and even with the 
hips of the other one. Nearer to the house a woman holding 
a plate in her hand was throwing crumbs to the birds. The 
sky was still clouded in part, and was of a darker tone than 
the snow beneath, though in the foreground there were some 
cast shadows which indicated that the sun was breaking 
through the clouds. A few large flakes were, however, still 
falling. The values in the snow were subtly rendered, and the 
wintry atmosphere vividl}^ suggested. The fantastic arabesque 
of an old apple-tree in front of the farmhouse was drawn 
with much care, its network of boughs and twigs, each with 
its silver line of stick}^ snow adhering to the upper side, 


being relieved against the sullen sky. The action of the 
figures was given with some stiffness, but was sufficiently 
definite to tell its story. 

" Deer-Stalking in the Adirondacks in Winter," the first 
subject taken from the North Woods by Homer, who after- 
wards found many congenial motives there, showed a pair 
of hunters on snow-shoes, running, an action which is as far 
removed from the poetry of motion as anything can well be. 
In the distance, at the right of the composition, was a deer, 
and a dog was springing at its throat, while a second hound 
was coming up a short way back. The forest where this 
episode was taking place was for the most part without un- 
derbrush, and was desolate in its wintry aspect. 

" Lumbering in Winter" showed a pine forest,'with two fig- 
ures of brawny lumbermen. The man in the foreground wore 
snow-shoes, and stood with his axe swung back over his 
shoulder, in the act of felling a giant tree, which was almost 
ready to topple over. A few yards farther away was the stout 
trunk of a tree already cut down, on which stood the second 
lumberman, who was cutting it in two in the middle. 

"A Country Store, — Getting Weighed" had a group of 
five figures in it. There were four ladies, one of whom was 
standing on the scales, while a gentleman adjusted the 
weights, and the others awaited their turns. The fashions in 
dress of 1871 are interestingly recalled by this drawing. The 
flounced skirts and overskirts are quite characteristic of the 
period, as are the small, low-crowned hats. The weighing 
was going on in the midst of the variegated stock of soap, 
fresh eggs, new brooms, flour, rakes, clothes-lines, lard, etc., 
of the country store, which also, of course, contained the 

"At Sea, — Signalling a Passing Steamer" was a dra- 


matic drawing of an incident which had more novelty than 
the preceding motives, and was picturesque in a different 
and more emphatic sense. It was night, and the black hull 
of a transatlantic liner loomed through the shadows. On the 
bridge were the figures of four officers. One of them had 
just discharged a rocket from the starboard end of the bridge, 
the sudden glare lightening up the waves far beyond the bow, 
and bringing into sharp relief the shrouds and stays, masts 
and yards, of the fore part of the vessel. This instantaneous 
effect, which must have been drawn from memory, was given 
with graphic intensity. One felt that the blinding glare of 
the fireworks would fade and die away as quickly as it had 
come. Dark shapes of several seamen on the main deck were 
visible ; they were peering through the darkness for the an- 
swering signals. 

" Bathing at Long Branch, — ' Oh, Ain't it Cold ! ' " de- 
picted a group of three buxom girls in the water ; having 
waded out to a depth of about two feet, they were hesitating 
to take the final chilly plunge. Two bolder bathers were 
shoulder-deep a little distance away, and several vessels were 
visible on the far horizon. " Cutting a Figure" was a double- 
page drawing, in which a pretty young woman was just 
completing an elaborate manoeuvre on the ice of a large skat- 
ing-pond in the country ; a few other skaters being visible 
in the distance at the left. As will have been noted, this was 
a favorite subject with Homer, who fully appreciated the 
graceful possibilities of it, and returned to it several times. 

From a drawing engraved on wood for Harper's Weekly, 
September 12, 1874 


From a drawing on wood by Lagarde for Harper's 

Weekly, August 22, 1874 



1 872-1 876. ^tat. 36-40 

Studio in West Tenth Street — " New England Country School" — " Snap 
the \^'hip " — A Summer on Ten-Pound Island — The Gloucester Water- 
colors — Urban Subjects — Last of the "Harper's Weekly" Drawings — " The 
Two Guides " — Relations with La Farge. 

MORE and more the artist turned his steps towards 
the country in search of the kind of subjects that 
appealed to him. He endured the city, but he was 
not at home there. He made frequent trips to little villages 
in New York State and in New England in the early seven- 
ties, and never returned empty-handed. One of the villages 
that he was fond of going to was Hurley, New York, four 
miles west of Kingston. He found some of his most interest- 
ing rural subjects in this Ulster County village, in the south- 
em part of the Catskills. When he went to Belmont, Mas- 
sachusetts, to visit his parents, he usually did some work in 
that neighborhood. I have seen an oil painting that he made 
of the famous and very venerable trees known as the Waver- 
ley oaks, at Waverley, Massachusetts. Against the sky rise 
the majestic outlines of these monster oaks, naked, or nearly 
so, forming a complicated pattern of dark lines. The fore- 
ground has blackened sadly ; one can barely discern in its 
depths of shadow the figure of a boy driving home three or 
four cows. The work is chiefly interesting for its extremely 
careful and loving drawing of the wide-spreading primaeval 


In 1872 Homer moved his studio to No. 51 West Tenth 
Street. At the National Academy exhibition of that year he 
showed five oil paintings, namely, " The Mill," " The Coun- 
try School," " Crossing the Pasture," " Rainy Day in Camp," 
and "The Country Store." A drawing entitled "Making 
Hay," which was published in " Harper's Weekly " for July 
6, 1872, was, I believe, made during one of the visits to 
Belmont. The editor of the " Weekly " enthusiastically re- 
marked : — 

" Mr. Winslow Homer's beautiful picture is a poem in itself, 
a summer idyl, suggestive of all that is most pleasant and 
attractive in rural life." 

One can hardly agree with this judgment. Making hay is 
pleasant and attractive to the spectator, perhaps, but it is 
hard and hot work for the haymaker ; moreover, this draw- 
ing was far from being one of Homer's best. It showed a 
field sloping gradually towards a stream at the right. Two 
farmers were mowing by hand. One of them was " in the 
shade of the old apple-tree " in the foreground, where two 
children were sitting on the ground, near a pail and a tin 
drinking-cup. Homer told the following anecdote to Albion 
H. Bicknell concerning the circumstances attending the mak- 
ing of this drawing. One warm Sunday morning, in Belmont, 
the artist's father, who was a regular church-goer, asked 
Winslow if he was going to church, and the latter replied 
in the negative. For some reason, Mr. Homer slipped out of 
church earlier than usual, and made an unexpected return 
to the house. After a look around the premises, he found 
Winslow drawing the haymaking scene in the open air, back 
of the bam, w'here the man of all work was posing with a 
scythe as his model. The elder Homer was much displeased 
by this Sabbath-breaking proceeding. 


Two other drawings were published in the course of the 
year 1872. In Augnst "Harper's Weekly" contained an 
illustration entitled "On the Beach — Two Are Company, 
Three Are None," made to accompany an anonymous poem 
which puts this melancholy avowal into the mouth of the 
principal figure, a woman : — 

" And so at last I left them there. 
And all unheeded went away. 
Lest e'en die birds should read my heart. 
As 1 had read myself that day." 

I feel sure that it will not be deemed extravagant praise to 
say that the illustration is better than the poem. 

On September 14, "Harper's Weekl}^" contained an en- 
graving after a painting by Homer entitled " Under the Falls, 
Catskill Mountains." The only oil painting exhibited by him 
at the Academy of 1873 was " A New England Country 
School." This characteristic composition, in which a pretty 
young school-teacher, who was standing, book in hand, be- 
hind her pine desk, in the centre of the picture, hearing her 
pupils recite their lesson, was the chief figure, attracted much 
favorable attention. The class was a small one, consisting of 
four boys and three girls. Unoccupied forms and desks on 
either hand suggested provision for a larger class in the win- 
ter season. The walls were bare, save for a blackboard behind 
the school-mistress and a window on either side revealing 
a glimpse of the green and sunny countrj' outside. Of the 
work it has been justly said that the artist inspired it with 
the severe simplicity of a serious life and people and yet re- 
conciled it with picturesqueness. It was thoroughly realistic, 
grave without harshness, and held a hint of romance in the 
comely young teacher with the June rose flaming on her 
desk. "A New England Country School" was bought by 


Thomas B. Clarke of New York. In 1891 it was exhibited, 
together with eleven other pictures by Homer, at the Penn- 
sylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. It was also 
one of the pictures by Homer exhibited at the Paris Interna- 
tional Exposition of 1878. 

No less than eleven drawings were contributed to " Har- 
per's Weekly " in the course of the year 1873. The first of 
these was an illustration of one of the painful incidents of 
the wreck of the steamship Atlantic of the White Star Line. 
It represented a rocky coast, with the dead figure of a woman, 
partly clothed, lying on a ledge, where it had been washed 
up by the tide. The body was just being discovered by a 
fisherman. It will be remembered that the Atlantic, bound 
from Liverpool for New York, was wrecked on the rocks of 
Mars Head, N. S., April i, 1873, and five hundred and sixty- 
two lives were lost. Homer's drawing was published on April 
26 ; it was called " The Wreck of the Atlantic — Cast up 
by the Sea." 

"The Noon Recess," published on June 28, recalled the 
painting of "The New England Country School," which has 
been described. A small bare-foot boy who had been kept in 
the schoolroom as a punishment for some transgression was 
sitting on a bench, with his face buried in a book. The school- 
mistress, who looked tired, cross, and worried, also sat on a 
bench, resting her elbow on a long desk or table. Through an 
open window there was a glimpse of children at play out-of- 
doors. A sufificient idea of the quality of the poem which 
went with this drawing may be derived from the first verse : 

Yes, hide your little tear-stained face 

Behind that well-thumbed book, my boy ; 

Your troubled thoughts are all intent 
Upon the game your mates enjoy. 

From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 
Homer. Paiftted at Marshfield, Massachusetts. Wins- 
low Homer s mother posed for the figure. Photograph by 
Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Arthur B. 

Homer. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence, Boston 

^ci A<^Q-?g. 





While you this recess hour must spend 
On study bench without a friend. 

"The Bathers," from a picture by Winslow Homer, was 
published on August 2. Not ever)^ one could agree with 
"Harper's Weekly" when it remarked, in reference to this 
drawing, that "the pretty figures in the foreground of Mr. 
Homer's charming picture illustrate the advantages of a 
costume peculiarly adapted to a graceful exit from the 

"The Nooning" was published on August 16. Near a 
white farmhouse three barefoot boys and a dog are sprawl- 
ing on the grass. The dog is gnawing a bone. In the back- 
ground, two houses, with trees near them, and clothes hung 
out on the line to dry. " Sea-Side Sketches — A Clam-Bake " 
was published a week later. A dozen little boys are seen on 
a rocky beach ; more than half of them are clustering about 
a fire ; the others are bringing water and driftwood for fuel ; 
in the background is the sea. 

" Snap the Whip," dated 1872, was reproduced in a highly 
satisfactory double-page wood engraving in " Harper's 
Weekly" for September 20, 1873. It measures twenty-two 
and one quarter inches high by thirty-six inches wide. This 
picture was bought by Mr. John H. Sherwood, and at the 
sale of his collection in 1879 it passed into the possession of 
Mr. Parke Godwin. It is now in the collection of Mr. Rich- 
ard H. Ewart. Nothing, not even the " New England 
Country School," had been quite so racy of the soil as this 
sturdy picture of a line of nine or ten barefoot boys holding 
hands and racing across a level common in front of a little 
rustic schoolhouse among the hills. The boys at the right of 
the line have made a sudden halt, and the two victims at the 
left end are sent tumbling head-over-heels on the green- 


sward. Beyond, at the left, are two little girls with a hoop 
and other children at play. The landscape in "Snap the 
Whip " is extremely rough and rugged, and unmistakably 
of Northern New England. There is something pungent and 
rude and bracing in the uncompromising naturalism of it. 
How it must have brought back to many a town-dweller in 
1872 the recollection of boyhood days ! It was lent to the 
Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, and to the Paris 
International Exposition of 187S; and was illustrated in line 
in the Sherwood catalogue of 1879. It reappeared in the 
New York Memorial Exhibition of 191 1. 

The watercolor drawings entitled " Berry Pickers " and 
" Boys Wading," which belonged to the collection of Mrs. 
Lawson Valentine of New York, are dated 1873. The "Berry 
Pickers," which was painted in the summer of 1873, proba- 
bly near Gloucester, represents a rocky field with a number 
of children carrying tin pails and picking berries near the 
seashore. At the left a girl is leaning against a gray boulder, 
. holding her pail in her right hand. She wears a dark skirt, 
a yellowish apron and blouse trimmed with red, and a straw 
hat with a brown ribbon. The head and shoulders of another 
girl appear above the boulder at the extreme left. Two boys 
and a girl are seated on the grass. The little girl in the im- 
mediate foreground in the centre of the picture, with her 
back toward the spectator, wears a }^ellow dress ; facing her 
at the right is a boy in brown trousers and vest, white shirt- 
sleeves, and a straw hat ; while the other boy, seen from the 
back, has dark trousers and a white shirt. Beyond, at the 
right, two other figures are suggested. The ground is cov- 
ered with low bushes and wild flowers. In the distance is a 
line of blue water, and sail-boats are on the horizon at the 


"Boys Wading" shows a sandy beach in the foreground. 
In the shallow water two boys stand knee-deep, bending 
over and rolling up their trousers. The one at the right, with 
his back toward the observer, wears gray trousers, a white 
shirt, and a brown hat ; the one at the left, seen in profile, 
facing his companion, wears a straw hat, light brown trou- 
sers and vest, with white shirt-sleeves. In the background 
is a dock with sheds, and a two-masted green schooner with 
sails down is moored alongside the dock. This was painted 
at Gloucester. Both of the watercolors were in the New 
York Memorial Exhibition of 191 1. 

There is something positively charming about the naivete 
with which these pictures of country children are painted. I 
cannot analyze it. In point of method, these Gloucester 
watercolors of 1873 are literally watercolor drawings ; that 
is to say, they are, first, drawings, and then colored ; and, 
while they are ver}' far from having the breadth and power 
of the later watercolors, their precision of draughtsmanship, 
the closeness of observation displayed, and the adorable 
genuineness of the types, make them most admirable and 

That summer of 1873 was a fruitful time and must have 
been a happy season. Homer, by a happy inspiration, on 
reaching Gloucester, had " persuaded Mrs. Merrill, the light- 
house-keeper's wife, to take him in," as a boarder, at her 
house on Ten-Pound Island, in Gloucester harbor ; and 
there he lived for the whole summer, rowing over to the 
town only when in need of materials or in search of fresh 
subjects. " The freedom from intrusion which he found in 
this little spot was precisely to his liking, and here he painted 
a large number of watercolors of uniform size, but of a wide 
range of boldly conceived and vigorously executed subjects. 


No experiment, however fraught with risk of failure, had any 
terrors for him. He painted absolutely as he saw, entirely 
unafraid, caring for nothing so much as his freedom to ex- 
press himself with unfettered independence. Failures were 
to be found when this notable group of watercolors was shown 
in a Boston gallery (this may have been in about 1878), but 
they had much of the significance of Rubinstein's false notes 
on the piano. On the other hand, the successes — and they 
were far the larger number — showed, as Emerson said, 'the 
devouring eye and the portraying hand.' Most of these ad- 
mirable little pictures were eagerly bought by Boston admir- 
ers, the prices ranging from seventy-five to one hundred 
dollars each." ^ 

Two of the best of the "Harper's Weekly" drawings of 
this period were "Gloucester Harbor" and "Ship-Building, 
Gloucester Harbor." In the former drawing, published Sep- 
tember 27, 1873, there were two dories in the foreground, with 
seven boys on board. In the middle distance were fishing 
'Schooners; and many sails were seen on the horizon. The 
play of the reflections in the water, and the drawing of the 
boats, were equally admirable. Still more effective and strik- 
ing was the ship-building scene, which was published Octo- 
ber II, 1873. A schooner was on the stocks, under construc- 
tion, and many laborers were busy about the hull, caulking, 
planing, hammering, boring, etc. In the foreground were five 
boys, two of them making toy boats, and the others gather- 
ing chips for kindling-wood. The light-and-shade effect was 
very handsome. 

Three more " Harper's Weekly" drawings were pub- 
lished in November and December, 1873. These were: 

1 "Some Recollections of VVinslow Homer," by J. Eastman Chase : Harper's 
Weekly, October 22, 1910. 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. N. C. 
Matthews, Baltimore, Maryland 

From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
National Gallery of Art, Washington. William T . Evans' 




"Dad 's Coming," November i, " The Last Days of Harvest," 
December 6, and "The Morning Bell," December 13. In 
"The Last Days of Harvest" two lads were husking corn in 
the field, while at a little distance two men were loading 
pumpkins on a wagon. The two other drawings were made 
as illustrations to poems. 

"Dad's Coming" was used as the motive for a painting 
that was finished at about the same time, and was exhibited 
at the National Academy of 1874. Ii^ this composition a 
mother with two children, one of them an infant, was waiting 
on the beach for the arrival of her sailor-husband. Spars, 
dories, nets, and similar fishermen's belongings, were strewed 
about the foreground, and in the background was the sea. 
Three other paintings were sent to the Academy by Homer 
in 1874: "School Time," "Girl," and "Sunday Morning." A 
watercolor entitled " In the Garden" is of this year. A gar- 
dener, leaning against the wall of a country house, stood 
talking to a maid who was looking out of a window. There 
was a contrast of the red brick wall and the redder shirt of 
the man. Some flowers were relieved with fine effect against 
the white plaster, and to the left a cat was stealing silently 
through the grass. 

During the winter and spring of 1874 Homer busied him- 
self with a series of urban illustrations, and he contributed 
four of these New York City subjects to " Harper's Weekly" 
in Februarj', March, and April. As we have already seen, the 
artist was far from having ignored the pictorial possibilities 
of the city. His " Station-House Lodgers," published Feb- 
ruary 7, showed the interior of a large basement room in a 
police station, the floor being covered by the recumbent fig- 
ures of sleeping men. On February 28 his drawing of " The 
Watch-Tower" maintained by the fire department of that day 


at the corner of Spring and Varick streets, was published. 
" The Chinese in New York," March 7, was a scene in a Bax- 
ter Street club-house ; and " New York Charities," April 18, 
was a drawing of St. Barnabas House, in Mulberry Street. 
After this he was ready to turn his back on the city for a good 
long summer campaign, which took him to Gloucester, Long 
Branch, and presently to the Adirondacks, a region which 
was to yield him many rich and congenial motives for pic- 

The rural scenes in " Harper's Weekly " for 1874 exhibited 
the same distinct advance in light-and-shade that has been 
noted in reference to those of the preceding year. The " Raid 
on a Sand-Swallow Colony — ' How Many Eggs? ' " published 
June 13, presented a fine brisk effect of outdoor light and at- 
mosphere. It represented the summit of a great sand dune, 
the top of which was tufted with coarse and wiry grasses ; at 
the left a glimpse of the ocean ; four boj^s had climbed to the 
upper part of the steep slope where there were numerous 
holes in the sand-bank, the abodes of the sand-swallows, 
which are being robbed of their eggs.^ " Gathering Beixies," 
published July 11, contained eight fignares of country boys 
and girls berrjnng in an old pasture near the seashore. All 
but one of them were intent upon their work. One little girl 
was standing up, leaning against a boulder, and holding a 
tin pail in her left hand ; possibly she had filled her pail first 
and was waiting for the rest. The sky was partly overcast ; 
a schooner in the distance was at the left ; the moving ribbons 
on the little girls' hats indicated a breeze. This drawing differs 
only in trivial details from the watercolor called " Berry Pick- 
ers," in Mrs. Lawson Valentine's collection. "On the Beach 

1 A watercolor version of the subject is in the collection of Mr. Edmund H. 
Garrett of Boston. 


at Long Branch — The Children's Hour," published August 
15, showed a group of two nurse-maids, a mother, and two 
children in the foreground, with many other figures farther 
removed from the foreground ; the sea and a steamer in the 
offing ; bath-houses and the bluff at the right. " Waiting for 
a Bite," published August 22, was an intensely characteristic 
drawing, of extraordinary breadth and carrying force. Here 
were three boys perched comfortably on an old fallen trunk 
of an uprooted tree which projected most conveniently over 
the shallow water of a secluded pond, where lily pads 
abounded, and cat-tails grew in the still coves, and the back- 
ground was closed in by thick woods. Two of the boys were 
supplied with poles and lines, and one of them was fishing, 
while the other was baiting his hook. A third boy, lying flat 
on his stomach, was watching operations. "Seesaw, Glouces- 
ter, Massachusetts," published September 12, contained nine 
fignres of boys and girls. Three girls were sitting on the bot- 
tom of an overturned dory, playing at "Cat's-Cradle," in the 
foreground. Just beyond them, six small boys had arranged 
a seesaw, consisting of a long plank balanced on a rock. 
While one of the boys stood in the middle, the rest were 
seated on the two ends of the plank, seasawing. The back- 
ground was a picturesque jumble of shanties, wharves, etc., 
with the harbor at the right. " Flirting on the Seashore and on 
the Meadow," published September 19, was divided into two 
panels. In the upper panel, a moonlight evening on the beach, 
a man and a woman were sitting on the sand ; in the lower 
one, a little maid was sitting on the grass of the meadow, while 
two barefoot boys, lying on their stomachs, were chatting with 
her. "Camping Out in the Adirondack Mountains," published 
November 7, represented two men sitting on the ground, one 
of them smoking a pipe and looking dreamily into the fire, 


the other overhauling his stock of flies. A shelter built of 
bark, a birch-bark canoe, a landing net, a dog, and a fallen 
tree, are items of the scene ; and in the background were a 
lake and a mountain. 

With the drawing of " The Battle of Bunker Hill — Watch- 
ing the Fight from Copp's Hill, in Boston," published June 
26, 1875 (the scene being on the roof of a house), the long 
series of illustrations in " Harper's Weekly " comes to an end. 
Extending through seventeen years, or from his twenty- 
second to his thirty-ninth year, with few breaks, this series 
of drawings had not only made Homer known to many 
thousands of his countrymen, but it had also been in a sense 
a school of invaluable assistance in the development of his 
art and in the disciplining of his talent. I have given more 
attention to the early drawings in this series than their in- 
trinsic merits would warrant, perhaps, partly because all 
of the formative stages of a great artist's ceuvre have their 
significance and interest, and partly because of the extra- 
ordinary interest that attaches to any and all documents re- 
lating to the Civil War. In a more or less indirect way, 
moreover, the "Harper's Weekly" drawings give us the 
clue to what the artist was doing, what he was thinking 
about, what plans and purposes he was cherishing, and in 
what places he was working, during these seventeen years 
of his early life, before painting had absorbed all his ener- 
gies, and before he had turned to marine painting as his 
special vocation. 

The success of a self-made man depends upon his inborn 
natural gifts, and upon the degree of his will to make the 
best of himself. The "Harper's Weekly" drawings offer 
valid evidence of Homer's indomitable determination to 
teach himself how to draw. He attacked any and every kind 


From the oil painting in the collection of Colonel Frank 
J. Hecker, Detroit 

A SWCi-^ 


of subject, as we have seen, shirking nothing, evading no 
difficulties, using his own faculties of perception, solving his 
own problems, ever learning, even from his own defeats. 
In a literal sense he was his own master and his own se- 
verest critic. Nothing daunted him. Mr. Coffin ' has writ- 
ten : — 

" Sometimes it is asked, ' What might not Winslow Homer 
have done if he had had a thorough art education at the 
beginning of his career ? ' I fancy that those who ask this 
question do not know what a great school Nature is when 
the pupil is a persistent searcher for truth and has the strength 
of purpose that has enabled Mr. Homer to find adequate 
forms of expression in his own way." 

At the National Academy Exhibition of 1875, Homer 
exhibited four paintings: "Landscape," "Milking Time," 
" Course of True Love," and " Uncle Ned at Home." The 
Centennial Exhibition of 1876 at Philadelphia, a landmark 
in the history of American art, contained the following list 
of Homer's works: "Snap the Whip" (belonging to the 
Sherwood collection) and " The American Type," in oils ; 
"The Trj'sting Place," "In the Garden," "Flowers for the 
Teacher," and "The Busy Bee," in watercolors. In the offi- 
cial report of the art display at the Centennial Exhibition, 
written by Professor John F. Weir, he speaks thus of the two 
oil paintings mentioned : — 

" Winslow Homer was represented by two pictures, ' Snap 
the Whip ' and ' The American Type,' the latter a character- 
istic example of this artist's pronounced individuality. The 
expression of the figures is intense, full of meaning, and the 
tenacity of his grasp upon the essential points of character 

* " A Painter of the Sea," by William A. Coffin: Century Magazine, Septem- 
ber, 1899. 


and natural fact is very decided. No recent work of this 
author has equalled the remarkable excellence of his cele- 
brated ' Prisoners from the Front,' an incident of the late 
war, which is a unique work in American art ; but all his 
pictures have the merit of a genuine motive and aim. ..." 

Among the pictures which Homer painted in 1876 was an 
Adirondacks subject, "The Two Guides." Of this picture 
Samuel Swift wrote as follows in the " New York Mail and 
Express," March 19, 1898: "'The Two Guides' shows an 
old man and a younger one standing on the slope of a 
mountain side. The veteran seems to be pointing out to his 
companion certain landmarks in the vast wilderness. They 
are typical men of the North Woods, these two. One wears 
a red shirt that has an insistence of color rarely attained in 
these later years of more subdued garments, and the other 
carries an axe. Their expression and bearing, however, be- 
speak their characteristics better than the mere labels of 
shirt and axe. The great stretch of mountain and valley 
that lies before the two woodsmen is silent and lonely and 
grand. The artist evidently felt the bigness of the place." 

The picture was bought by Mr. Thomas B. Clarke, and 
was sold at the sale of his collection in 1899 for eight hun- 
dred and seventy-five dollars. It became the property of Mr. 
C. J. Blair of Chicago, who lent it to the loan exhibition held 
at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, in 1908. Somewhat more 
elaborate and rhetorical, yet interesting enough to quote, is 
the descriptive paragraph concerning " The Two Guides " 
which was published in the Clarke catalogue of 1899. 

" ' The Two Guides.' The pioneer of the past is schooling 
his young successor, to whom he will soon abdicate his place, 
in some of the secrets of his craft. The old man, still stalwart 
and lusty for all the frost that whitens his beard, and the power- 


ful young woodsman, are crossing a mountain ridge. The 
ground is wet and dark with dews and midnight showers. Out 
of the depths behind them mists rise from the streams and 
springs below, and floating flecks of cloud blow along the 
flanks of the mountains. The guides have halted at the sum- 
mit of the ridge, and the older man points forward, at some 
landmark beyond. Two grand and rugged types amid a 
grand and rugged nature, they seem instinct with, and elo- 
quent of, the spirit of a scene and life which is yielding 
steadily to time, and of which this picture will, in the future, 
be a historical reminder and landmark." 

Mr. R. M. Shurtleff, referring to " The Two Guides," tells 
us that the principal figure depicts " Old Mountain Philips," 
a character since made famous by Charles Dudley Warner, 
and the other figure is that of a young man noted in the 
Adirondacks for his size and his red shirt. " He still lives 
here," says Mr. Shurtleff, writing from Keene Valley, " and 
is still wearing, if not the same shirt, one precisely like it." 

It was while Homer was occupying his studio in the old 
studio building in West Tenth Street that he became ac- 
quainted with John La Farge, who had a studio in the same 
building. In his letter to Mr. Gustav Kobbe,i La Farge re- 
lates the following incident of those days : — 

" I met him [Homer] on the stairs as I was going up, and 
I knew by his gesture that he was coming to me. We went 
up to his room without a word, and he pointed to a picture 
he had just painted. It was that of a girl who had hurt her 
hand, and the expression of the face was what in my New- 
port language I know as ' pitying herself.' This was as deli- 
cate an expression as it is possible to conceive. The painter 
of the surf and the fisherman and the sailor and the hunter 
' Published in the New York Herald, December 4, 1910. 


and every active and fierce edge of the sea was here touch- 
ing one of the most impossible things to render. He said 
nothing ; he pointed ; I understood. He wished to show me 
that he, too, could paint otherwise, and we went downstairs 
together without a word." 

Mr. La Farge was, however, in error when he stated that 
the education of Winslow Homer was " developed from the 
studies of especially the French masters of whom there were 
only a very few examples in the country as far as painting 
went." There is no evidence to support this assertion, and 
there is ample internal evidence in his pictures to show that 
this alleged source of inspiration did not exist for him. If it 
is true that Homer copied some lithographs by French art- 
ists of the so-called Barbizon school, as has been stated on 
the authority of Mr. La Farge, there is no evidence either of 
the fact itself or of any influence from the works in ques- 
tion in his own practice. This mistake is of a piece with the 
false statement that " the year in the Paris schools greatly 
improved his technique." He did no work in France, and 
entered no schools in Paris. If he took any interest in French 
art, old or modem, he never made it known, orally or other- 
wise. Indeed, I am forced to conclude that Mr. La Farge 
knew Homer only superficially ; he confesses as much when 
he says : " Quite late this man went to Europe and studied 
there," and " he seems to have dealt little with the French 
artists, nor do I know exactly the degree of appreciation 
which met him from Americans ; nor have I ever heard what 
he thought or said of the great masters' works." It is very 
strange that La Farge should have been ignorant of the de- 
gree of appreciation which met Homer from Americans, for 
this was a matter of common knowledge at the time his 
words were written. 




















































































































fXn 8 






O 8 




1 876-1 880. JEut. 40-44 

" The Visit from the Old Mistress " — "Sunday Morning in Virginia " 
— "The Carnival" — An Episode in Petersburg — The Model who Ran 
Away — The Houghton Farm Watercolors — The " Shepherdess of Hough- 
ton Farm" — The " Camp Fire " — Gloucester Again — Homer's Mas- 
tery in Composition. 

SEVERAL of Homer's most successful and popular 
paintings of negro life in Old Virginia were painted 
in the late seventies. " The Visit from the Old Mis- 
tress," which has been catalogued as "The Visit to the 
Mistress " and " The Visit of the Mistress," was painted in 
1876. " Sunday Morning in Virginia" and " The Carnivar' 
were painted in 1877. While with the Army of the Potomac 
in Virginia in 1862, Homer's attention had been strongly 
attracted to the negroes, and in his " Bright Side" (1865), he 
had made his first essay in utilizing the African type as a mo- 
tive for a picture. Conceiving a desire to return to this class 
of subjects, he went to Petersburg, Virginia, in 1876, and 
there made a series of careful studies from life. The princi- 
pal results of this journey, which had like to have tragic 
results for the artist, were the three very sympathetic and 
interesting genre paintings which have been mentioned. 
While he was at work in Petersburg, it became known to a 
group of young fire-eaters there that he was consorting 
with the blacks, and they resolved to drive him out of town 
asa"d — d nigger-painter." Word had come to him that 


the place was to be made too hot for him, but he paid no 
attention to the warning. One day he was sitting on the 
porch of the hotel where he was staying, when a " bad 
man" rode up to the gate, dismounted, tied his horse, and 
started to come up the walk, with a most threatening aspect. 
Homer, relating the incident, said : — 

" I looked him in the eyes, as Mother used to tell us to 
look at a wild cow." 

The artist was sitting with his hands in his pockets. When 
half-way to the porch, the " bad man " hesitated, halted, and, 
turning on his heel, strode back to his horse, mounted, and 
rode away. He had no sooner disappeared than a gentle- 
man from Texas, who had been sitting on the porch near 
Homer, crawled out from under an adjacent bench. 

"What did you get down there for?" asked Homer. 

" Well," said the Texan, " it was n't my fight, and I thought 
there was going to be some shooting." 

" Why did he go away ? " asked Homer. 

"Well, I '11 tell you. He thought you had a Derringer in 
each hand and were going to get the drop on him." 

He went on to explain that sometimes men shot from their 
pockets. Homer was not molested. He went on, finished 
what he had begun, and returned North. 

In " The Visit from the Old Mistress " there is an extra- 
ordinary presentation of female negro character. The three 
former slaves are observed and described most vividly and 
keenly. In their solemnity of demeanor, the humility of their 
expression, and the evident awe which the presence of the 
old mistress inspires, there is a blending of pathos and 
humor, which belongs to the situation, and is all the better 
for not having been injected into it. The colored baby in the 
arms of one of the women is an interesting type, and one 


wonders why the grande dame is not human enough to take 
notice of it. The place is the cabin of the negro women, and 
not, as the altered title would imply, the kitchen of the 
" great house." A large old-fashioned open fireplace is seen 
at the left The position and expression of the "mammy" 
sitting on a stool near this fireplace are admirably caught. 
This picture was bought by Mr. Thomas B. Clarke, and at 
the sale of his collection in New York, in 1899, it was sold 
for three hundred and twenty dollars to Mr. M. H. Lehman 
of New York. Afterwards it passed into the possession of 
Mr. WUliam T. Evans, who presented it to the National 
Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. It is catalogued as "The 
Visit of the Mistress " in Mr. Rathbun's catalogue,^ but the 
original title, as given in the catalogue of the National 
Academy of Design for 1880, explains the situation more 

In "The Carnival" some negro women are helping to 
dress a colored man in a fancy costume, in order that he 
may take part in the festivities of the carnival. His coat, like 
that of Joseph, is of many colors. It is undoubtedly of home 
make, and blazes with the reds and yellows so dear to the 
hearts of the Africans. A group of little negroes stand by, 
watching the preparations, with awe and envy in their faces. 
An old crone, with a pipe in her mouth, is sewing the stuff 
together. At the left of the composition there is a gate, and 
at the right is a house with tall chimneys. Sunlight falls on 
the group of figures, producing strong lights and shadows. 
This work is notable for its fine color as well as its capital 
delineation of character. It was bought by Mr. Clarke, and 
when his pictures were sold in 1899 it was acquired by Mr. 

' "The National Gallery of Art, Department of Fine Arts of the National 
Museum," by Richard Rathbun. Washington, 1909. 


N. C. Matthews of Baltimore for two hundred and twenty- 

"Sunday Morning in Virginia" represents a group of 
four negro children, sitting on a bench and stools in the 
chimney corner, painfully spelling out the words in a Bible 
which they hold on their knees. Beside them sits an old 
" mammy," leaning on her stafT, and listening to the reading. 
The rich and sober scale of color in this work, with its deep 
browns, blues, and reds, admirably related, was the subject 
of much favorable comment. This picture, eighteen inches 
high by twenty-four inches wide, was bought by Mr. Wil- 
liam T. Evans, and it was sold at the Evans sale in New 
York, in the winter of 1900, for four hundred dollars, the 
buyer being Mr. J. C. Nicoll, the artist. 

While engaged in painting his negro subjects, Homer 
met with some am.using characters among his models, and 
had some diverting experiences. He needed an elderly 
woman model to sit for him, in order to complete one of his 
groups, and, while walking along West Street, in New York, 
"with this idea in his mind, he ran across a type of "colored 
person " who had just arrived from the South and who in 
age, avoirdupois, and complexion, was precisely what he 
was looking for. Her costume also, by the way, was in 
keeping with all the rest. He spoke to her, told her who 
and what he was, explained what he wanted, gave the 
address, and found her entirely willing to pose for him on 
the morrow. At the appointed hour she came to the studio in 
the old University Building, and although looking somewhat 
overawed by the sight of the easel, canvas, model-stand, 
palette, brushes, lay-figure, screen, and other studio proper- 
ties, she took her pose, as instructed, and the work was about 
to begin ; when, turning his back for a moment or two, or 


From the draming in the collection of Mr. William 

Howe Downes. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence, 



From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Burton 

Mansfield, New Haven, Connecticut 



K* "".J;'"r- orfts,^ ., - 




^^hL^ ^^^tt^H^ 


pB^^ ^,;.. 


■HH^I^^E' . "v*-^:^.^ . 

~.iijf ■-:"!=,-■ 


stepping behind a screen to get something, Homer, as soon 
as he looked again, discovered to his amazement that 
the bird had flown ! Before he could reach the top of the 
steep and step-ladder-like flight of stairs, she was half tum- 
bling down the lower steps, falling over her own skirt in her 
panic ; and when he looked out of the window the next 
minute, the old woman was making record time across 
Washington Square, as if the Evil One himself were at her 
very heels. As Homer expressed it, she " was only hitting 
the high places," so swift was her flight. Some racial super- 
stition, perhaps, had overcome her mind at the critical mo- 
ment, and her fear of being bewitched may have culmi- 
nated as she watched the artist's mysterious preparations to 
paint her generous figure. 

Another negro picture which was the outcome of the 
journey to Virginia in 1876 was the " Cotton Pickers," repre- 
senting two stalwart negro women in a cotton field. This 
canvas, about thirty by forty inches, in a scale of browns 
and silvery grays, was exhibited some time in the seventies at 
the Century Club, of which, by the way, Homer was a mem- 
ber. An English gentleman saw it there, bought it, and took 
it to England ; and Mr. F. Hopkinson Smith, who has sent me 
this information, together with a rough sketch of the compo- 
sition, thinks that the picture is practically unknown in 

At the National Academy exhibition of 1877, "Answering 
the Horn " and a landscape were exhibited. The price placed 
upon the former was seven hundred and fifty dollars. The 
list of watercolors shown at the American Society of Paint- 
ers in Watercolors exhibition in that year included five 
titles : " Book," " Blackboard," " Rattlesnake," " Lemon," 
and " Backgammon." In the National Academy of 1878 


were " The Watermelon Boys " (or, " Eating Watermelons"), 
and " In the Fields," which were engraved on wood for the 
" Art Journal," London, August, 1878 ; and there were also 
in the same exhibition "The Two Guides," "Morning," 
"Shall I Tell Your Fortune?" and "A Fresh Morning." 

Two oil paintings which were originally entitled " A Fair 
Wind " and " Over the Hills," belonging to this period, were 
bought by Mr. Charles Stewart Smith of New York, and are 
pleasantly and appreciatively described by Mr. Strachan in 
his "Art Treasures of America," ^ under altered titles. In the 
Smith Collection, according to Mr. Strachan, the best exam- 
ple of American art was Homer's "Breezing up" ("A Fair 
Wind "), a boating scene of admirable quality. " Of all the 
frank and direct nature studies of "Winslow Homer, the sketch 
of boys in a boat had been settled upon by the artists as the 
author's greatest hit since the ' Confederate Prisoners.' — 
The t3''pe of the skipper's young American son, gazing off 
to the illimitable horizon of that picture" was "accepted by 
the discerning as one of the neatest symbols yet struck off of 
our country's quiet valor, hearty cheer, and sublime ignorance 
of bad luck." Of the other picture in the Smith collection, which 
he names "Rab and the Girls," Mr. Strachan writes: "How 
native and racy it is: the two fresh girls, themselves far 
enough from life's autumn, who roam the wild, lone hills 
bearing home over the downs the first blood drawn by aggres- 
sive winter, the first scarlet branch of that most American tree, 
the maple, the first triumph of the coming cold over the snappy 
vigor of Yankee summer ; around them gambols their attend- 
ant Rab, sufficient and trusted escort in a land where hand- 
some girls are safe in an atmosphere of honest chivalry ; the 

1 "The Art Treasures of America," edited by Edward Strachan. Philadel- 
phia: George Barrie, 1879. 


picture seems to include the most delicate and pensive aroma 
of Coleridge's ' November,' while at the same time it speaks 
the American accent, with incorrigible bravery of hopeful 
maidenhood, of cherry-cheeked leafage, of bounding animal 
life, of broad moorland freedom." 

At the Paris universal exposition of 1878, Homer's contri- 
butions were more numerous, more important, and much 
more noticed than had been his envois in 1867. He exhibited 
there "The Bright Side," "The Visit from the Old Mistress," 
" Sunday Morning in Virginia," "A Country School-Room," 
and " Snap the Whip." The two last-named canvases were 
from the collection of John H. Sherwood. The picture here 
mentioned as "A Country School-Room" is identical with 
"A New England Country School," dated 1873, which has 
been described. 

The artist spent a part of the summer of 1878 at Houghton 
Farm, Mountainville, New York, a few miles from Cornwall. 
There he painted (among other things) the two excellent little 
watercolors which were lent to the New York memorial ex- 
hibition of 191 1 by Mrs. Valentine Lawson, "Hillside" and 
" Shepherdess." In the foreground of " Hillside" a young girl 
is seated, with her figure in profile, looking to the right. Her 
hands are clasped back of her head, and her brown hair hangs 
in a braid down her back ; she wears a brownish dress. Im- 
mediately back of her is a green hillside, and on its crest, at 
the left, are trees and red buildings. Other trees are on the 
ridge of the hill, which slopes down at the right. There is a 
blue distance and a light cloudy sky. In the foreground of the 
"Shepherdess," on a grassy knoll, in shadow, a young girl 
wearing a red dress and a sunbonnet lies at full length, with 
her head propped on her right arm ; near her at the left are 
two sheep. Beyond, at the extreme left, a large tree throws 


its shadow across the field ; a stone wall back of the tree fol- 
lows the rise of a hill towards a clump of trees at its top. 
Sheep are grazing on the hillside, which is in bright sunlight. 
There are distant blue hills at the horizon, and the sky is 
light blue with thin white clouds. 

These two watercolors, with twenty-two others, all, or 
nearly all of which were painted at Houghton Farm, were 
exhibited in 1879 in the exhibition of the American Water- 
color Society. The titles then were "Watching Sheep" and 
" On the Hill." Another of the Houghton Farm subjects, 
" On the Fence," is in my possession ; it is dated 1878, was 
in the watercolor exhibition of 1879, and reappeared in the 
Boston memorial exhibition of 191 1. It shows a demure and 
wistful little maid of about twelve j^ears, painted from the 
same model who is seen in " Hillside," seated on a stone 
wall, against a background of white weeds and green shrub- 
bery. Mr. Henry Sayles of Boston also owns a watercolor of 
the same date, with a single figure, and a garden with flow- 
ers in the background. The rest of the Houghton Farm wa- 
tercolor series of 1878 will be found listed in the Appendix. 
They were all shown in the watercolor exhibition of the fol- 
lowing year. 

The three oil paintings sent to the thirty-fourth annual ex- 
hibition of the National Academy of Design in the spring of 
1879 were : " Upland Cotton," a scene on a southern planta- 
tion ; "Sundown," a girl on the seashore; and "The Shep- 
herdess of Houghton Farm," an American idyll. In all prob- 
ability " the Shepherdess of Houghton Farm " may have 
been the " half-grown, long-legged girl with a crook and 
knots of ribbons on her ill-fitting dress, standing out in the 
sunlight among the mullein stalks, a New England concep- 
tion of a Boucher shepherdess," which is recalled by Mr. 

From the etching by Winslow Homer, after his water- 
color in the collection of Mr. Alexander C. Humphreys, 
M.E., Sc.D., LL.D., President of the Stevens Institute 
of Technology, Castle Point, Hoboken, New Jersey. 
Copyright by C. Klackner, New York 


Isham.i "Any one else," he adds, "would have rendered 
her with some recollection of the grace of the prototype if 
only by way of caricature ; but Homer in a few firm strokes 
draws her exactly as she was, with no more suggestion of 
the court of Louis XV than if she had been a lumberman, 
and yet the child with the funny attempt at finery finishes by 
being more charming than any attempt to resuscitate the 
eighteenth century." 

In the picture called " Upland Cotton " one of the critics 
of 1879 found a suggestion of Japanese influence. He ex- 
pressed the view that this picture was "a superb piece of 
decoration with its deep, queer colors like the Japanese, dull 
greens, dim reds, and strange neutral blues and pinks." The 
same writer thought that the artistic subtlety of Japanese 
art had been precisely assimilated by Homer, and that this 
picture was "original and important as an example of new 

"Mr. Homer can see and lay hold of the essentials, and 
he paints his own thoughts — not other people's," said the 
" Art Journal," London, 1878. " It is not strange, therefore, 
that almost from the outset of his career as a painter, his 
works have compelled the attention of the public. They re- 
veal on the part of the artist an ability to grasp dominant 
characteristics and to reproduce specific expressions of scenes 
and sitters ; and for this reason it is that no two of Mr. 
Homer's pictures look alike. His negro studies, brought 
from Virginia, are in several respects — in their total freedom 
from conventionalism and mannerism, in their strong look 
of life, and in their sensitive feeling for character — the most 
successful things of the kind that America has yet produced." 

1 The History of American Painting, by Samuel Isham. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1905. 


Concerning the three paintings shown at the National 
Academy of 1879, " Upland Cotton," " Sundown," and " The 
Shepherdess of Houghton Farm," the Editor's Table of 
"Appleton's Journal " expressed the following judgment and 
ventured the following prediction : — 

" In three pictures this year there are more reach and full- 
ness of purpose than in his recent works, and they indicate 
unmistakably, we think, that when conditions all unite favor- 
ably Mr. Homer will produce a trul)' great American paint- 
ing. The elements are all within him ; they are simply to be 
adequately mastered and grouped." 

The prophecies of art critics are seldom so marvelously 
and so promptly vindicated as in this case. It is not too late 
to pa}^ our compliments to this clear-sighted critic of 1879. 

In 1886 the artist returned to Cape Ann, painting at 
Gloucester and Annisquam. He was chiefly engaged in mak- 
ing small watercolors, and how profitably he employed his 
time was evident the following winter, when, at the fourteenth 
annual exhibition of the American Watercolor Society, he 
exhibited no less than twenty-three works, most of them 
Gloucester subjects. Among these were : " Gloucester, Mas- 
sachusetts," " Eastern Point Light," " Coasters at Anchor," 
" Gloucester Boys," " Bad Weather," "Schooners at Anchor," 
"The Yacht Hope," " Fishing Boats at Anchor," and "Sun- 
set." An indoor figure piece entitled "Winding the Clock" 
was also shown at this exhibition. It was lent by General 
F. W. Palfrey, and a sketch of it in the catalogue, drawn by 
F. S. Church, shows a girl standing on a stool in front of a tall 
hall clock, apparently blowing the dust out of the key. Sev- 
eral of the Gloucester watercolor series of this year, owned 
in Boston, were shown at the Boston memorial exhibition of 
191 1. These include the " Children Wading at Gloucester," 


belonging to the Edward Hooper estate ; the " Children and 
Sail-Boat," belonging to Mrs. Greely S. Curtis ; " Sailing 
Dories," belonging to the Edward Hooper estate; and, I 
think, " The Green Dory," belonging to Dr. Arthur T. Cabot. 

At the fifty-fifth exhibition of the National Academy of 
Design, in 1880, the oil paintings shown were the " Camp 
Fu-e," the "Visit from the Old Mistress," "Sunday Morn- 
ing," and " Summer." 

The "Camp Fire" is a nocturnal scene, representing a 
man lying on a bed of pine needles in a half-open tepee or 
wigwam built of saplings and walled with bark. Another 
man is sitting on the ground outside, with his back against 
the hut. His face, in profile, is lit by the glow of the fire in 
the foreground, which sends forth bright red sparks. In the 
background is a thick wood. The darkness is broken by the 
firelight in a way that emphasizes the solitude of the sur- 
rounding forest. Tongues of flame flash and writhe, and the 
sparks leap upward in quick, sinuous curves that carry the 
eye aloft to follow them. This picture was bought by Mr. 
Thomas B. Clarke, and it was sold to Mr. Alexander Harri- 
son of New York in 1899 for seven hundred dollars. It was 
exhibited at the World's Fair, Chicago, 1893 ; and has been 
exhibited three times in New York, — in 1880, 1910, and 
191 1. It is twenty-four and one-quarter inches high by thirty- 
eight inches wide. At present it belongs to Mr. H. K. Pom- 
roy, and it is esteemed a sterling example of the artist's ori- 
ginality by all competent judges. Mr. R. M. Shurtlef?, the 
landscape painter, informs us that this picture was made in 
Keene Valley, Adirondacks, and he adds that it is so real 
that "a woodsman could tell what kind of logs were burning 
by the sparks that rise in long curved lines." Finally, I quote 
from the Clarke catalogue of 1899 the following excellent 


description, which brings the scene vividly to the imagina- 
tion : — 

" ' Camp Fire.' Deep in the wilderness the fisherman has 
made his camp, near a convenient trout stream. Beneath a 
storm-uprooted cedar, whose sturdy branches support it 
from falling prone upon the ground, he has built his hut of 
saplings, with open front, walled with bark stripped from the 
trees. Under this shelter his guide lies, sleeping soundly, 
after a weary day, on a bed of aromatic pine needles cut 
green from their branches. The sportsman, relieving his ser- 
vitor from the watch, sits with his back against the impro- 
vised cabin. The gloom and loneliness of the place and hour 
have set him thinking, and the face the camp fire lights is 
serious and pensive. The fire blazes in front of the hut, send- 
ing up a stream of sparks like fiery serpents, and rolling 
from its fresh logs the smoke that protects the camp from 
insect pests. All around is the mysterious obscurity of the 
primeval forest, that obscurity and mystery which provide 
the spice of the true sportsman's life." 

Coincident with the beginning of Homer's series of sea 
pieces and his abandonment of work for the illustrated press, 
was a marked development of his faculty for making a strik- 
ing and original pictorial design or pattern. From 1880 
onward we shall find this faculty constantly working out 
remarkable results in all his pictures. It was not, however, 
such a sudden accomplishment as it might seem to the cas- 
ual observer, for if we look back through the pages of " Har- 
per's Weekly " in the early seventies we cannot fail to note 
here and there those apparently fortuitous felicities in the 
disposition of the light and dark masses which contribute so 
tellingly to the impressiveness of a picture. This is what a 
discerning critic has called the mysterious power of unerring 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Charles W. 

Gould, New York 


choice. " The construction, the very shape of these pages of 
nature remain in the mind as he presents them," writes Mr. 
Fowler, 1 — "the spots, the masses, the relation they bear to 
one another, stay in the memor}', while the transcript of some 
lesser man, making slight mental appeal, soon fades from 
one's remembrance. This is a suggestive fact — it is not 
through technical address that such a result is achieved — 
it must be something other. In fact, ueating the subjects 
Homer does, one would not care for too glib and facile hand- 
ling ; and, on consideration, you feel that the touch is the 
natural and consequent outcome of the theme. It is largely 
the design which gives them their potency in memory — 
they have their stamp, and this is indeed their cachet. . . . 
Nature, broad, spacious, elemental, seems to have sunk into 
his mind, fixed there in some shape or pattern, strong spots of 
sky orwater, almost savage at times in their coloring. Nothing 
for whim ; no straining for originality. His vision is as clear 
as a window pane through which one might look out upon 
the scene ; but the selection is that of an artist who seizes 
the most salient and typical point of view. There is no soft- 
ening of effect nor prettifjdng of facts — great nature suffices, 
and his works possess the true beauty of essential fidelity. 
Design is always there, for it is the mysterious power of un- 
erring choice. This it is which places Homer above the plane 
of a competent painter and proclaims him an artist of the 
first rank." 

Homer's ser\dces were in demand as an illustrator of 
books ; and in 1880 there were two of his illustrations, en- 
graved on wood, in a publication entitled " Songs from the 
Published Writings of Alfred Tennyson set to music by 

'^ An Exponent of Design in Painting, by Frank Fowler, in Scribner's 
Magazine, May, 1903. 


Various Composers," edited by W. G. Cusins, and published 
by Harper & Brothers, New York. His subjects were " The 
Miller's Daughter" and "Tears, Idle Tears." The former is 
a half-length figure of a girl, with a roguish expression in 
her face. In the illustration to " Tears, Idle Tears," a slight 
concession to the sentimentality of the theme is evident in 
the half-length figure of a maiden with downcast eyes. In 
the edition of Tennyson's poems, published by James R. Os- 
good & Company, Boston, 1872, Homer's drawing of "The 
Charge of the Light Brigade " appeared. He also contrib- 
uted at least one illustration to an edition of the poems of 
William Cullen Bryant, the subject being "The Fountain." 
In this drawing there are two figures of girls by the bank of 
a stream. One, standing erect, carries a pail in her hand ; 
the other, on her knees, at the water's edge, is about to dip 
up a pailful of water. He also made illustrations to stories 
printed in the magazines of the day, and I have before me 
a wood engraving of one of his drawings, which depicts a 
group of a half-dozen young women in a billiard room, one 
of them being about to attempt a shot, which will infallibly 
prove a miscue, if I may judge from the way in which she 
holds the cue : this is entitled " Jessie Remained Alone at 
the Table," the legend probably being taken from the text 
of the tale. There remains to be noticed a series of outline 
illustrations to James Russell Lowell's dialect poem, " The 
Courtin'," published by James R. Osgood & Company, Bos- 
ton, 1874. The seven drawings are in silhouette, reproduced 
by the heliotype process. From the moment when " Zekle 
crep' up quite unbeknown " and " peeked in thru' the win- 
der," this series takes us rapidly to the not unexpected de- 
nouement of this affair of the heart, " in meetin' come nex' 



1881-1882. ^tat. 45-46 

The Dwelling at Cullercoates — " Watching the Tempest " — " Perils of 
the Sea " — "A Voice from the ClilFs " — " Inside the Bar " — A Turn- 
ing- Point in the Artist's Career — Watercolors Dealing with Storms and 

IN 1 88 1 a happy chance directed the steps of the painter 
to the east coast of England, where he worked with his 
customary zeal for two entire seasons at Tynemouth, in 
Northumberlandshire, a well-known watering-place, with a 
fine beach, overlooked by picturesque clifEs. Tynemouth is 
also a seaport and fishing-town with a population of more 
than fifty thousand ; and a better place for Homer's purposes 
could hardly have been found in all England. In a suburb 
called Cullercoates he was fortunate enough to find a dwell- 
ing which just suited him, a little house surrounded by a 
high wall, with one gate, to which he had the key, so that he 
was safe from intrusion. The works that he produced there 
sounded a deeper, stronger, more serious note than any that 
had preceded them. The sea, and the lives of those who go 
down to the sea in ships, became, from this time, his one 
great theme, and even the earliest and least pretentious of 
his marine motives had in them the ring of that inalienable 
veracity, that deep-seated and heart-felt enthusiasm, which 
have made of his sea pieces the incomparable masterpieces 
that they are. The Tynemouth series of watercolors, bearing 
the dates 1881 and 1882, had to deal especially with tem- 


pests and wrecks and the daring deeds of the coast-gxiards, 
and they formed a worthy prelude to the long line of ocean 
epics that was to follow through at least twenty years of 
productive activity. 

To the Tynemouth series belong those stirring scenes of 
storm and peril, "Watching the Tempest," "Forebodings" 
(or "The Perils of the Sea"), "The Life Brigade," and 
" The Ship's Boat;" as well as those noble compositions, 
"A Voice from the CHfE," "Inside the Bar," "The Incoming 
Tide," and " Tynemouth." 

In "Watching the Tempest" the atmosphere of excite- 
ment, dread, and suspense, as the life-boatmen prepare to 
launch their craft to go to the aid of an unseen vessel in dis- 
tress, is conveyed in every touch of the brush. The storm is 
raging with fury ; the air is filled with clouds of wind-swept 
spray ; yet in the midst of the emergency the observer feels 
that the group of men who stand on the beach ready to 
put the boat into the water are cool and collected, prepared 
to do their duty manfully, but taking it all as a part of the 
day's work, without any consciousness of heroism. The 
background shows a bluff, with buildings silhouetted against 
the stormy sky, and a crowd of spectators watching the 
doings of the coast-guardsmen. When the editor of the 
Thomas B. Clarke catalogue of 1899 wrote of this water- 
color, " It is a period of wild excitement and expectation, 
when humanity feels with deep emotion the deadly tumult 
and peril of the elements," he was expressing precisely what 
every sensitive person must feel in looking at this wonderful 
little picture. Yet it is to be observed that the work is 
utterly free from all traces of factitious appeal ; it is dra- 
matic without being in the least theatrical ; there is no aim 
in it but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ; 


From the drawing in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 

Warner, Boston. (Inscribed: " Wreck of the Iron Crown, 

Tynemouth, Oct. 2j, 1881.") Photograph by Chester A. 



From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 

-"^- ->•■■-- 







^ ■ 


*^^i ■■ii. 

^j^ rv 






- . .^ 


and when one looks at a picture of this kind the thought 
is not of the skill of the painter nor of the beauty of the 
design, but of the " deadly tumult and peril of the ele- 
ments " and the courage of the men whose business it is to 
risk their lives in saving the lives of others. 

"Watching the Tempest," which measures fourteen by 
twenty inches, was sold for three hundred and seventy dol- 
lars at the sale of the Thomas B. Clarke collection, in New 
York, February, 1899. The buyer was Mr. Burton Mans- 
field, of New Haven, Connecticut. This, like all of the Tyne- 
mouth subjects, was a watercolor. 

"The Perils of the Sea" appears to have been inspired 
by the same storm as that so stirringly depicted in the 
foregoing composition. " The entire community of a coast 
setdement has turned out to watch a wreck off shore," says 
the descriptive catalogue of the Clarke collection. " On a 
pier in the foreground two women stand in attitudes expres- 
sive of intense and anxious attention. Below the pier, on the 
beach, many figures crowd with all eyes bent upon the rag- 
ing of the wintry surf. At the left a part of a summer cot- 
tage is seen." ' Although there is the same atmosphere of 
suspense and agitation in this work as in " Watching the 
Tempest," the composition is not so good. "The Perils of 
the Sea" was also in the Clarke sale, and brought two hun- 
dred and ten dollars. The buyer was Dr. A. C. Humphrey, 
of the Lotos Club, New York. In the fall of 1891, when the 
Clarke collection, including twelve of Homer's works, was ex- 
hibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Phila- 
delphia, a variation of this watercolor, catalogued as " Fore- 
bodings," was described as follows : — 

' The building is not a summer cottage, but an observatory for the use 
of the coast-guard. 


" It is wild and squally weather on the sea. The wind 
whirls the cloud racks in the sky, and a white surf rages 
along the shore. In the foreground two young mothers, 
each carrying her babe, study with boding expectancy the 
angry deep on which their husbands' boats are being tossed. 
Signed at the left, and dated 1881. Watercolor." 

"Forebodings" seems to have been virtually the same 
design as " The Perils of the Sea," with the exception of the 
babes in the former. 

" A Voice from the Cliffs" is one of the most important of 
the Tynemouth series of watercolors. Three English fisher- 
girls are grouped on the beach, their forms being outlined 
against the gray cliffs behind them. A striking feature of 
the arrangement of this compact group of figures is the 
repetition of lines in the arms of the girls as they hold their 
baskets. This gives a swing of movement to the group 
which is highly effective and rhythmical, without monotony. 
The heads are the prettiest female heads painted by Homer 
up to this time, though they are probably all painted from the 
same model, which is a detail of no great importance. The 
drawing has an unusually potent element of charm, and the 
first and last impression is of the extraordinary beauty of 
the composition. This, with three other watercolors, " Inside 
the Bar," "The Incoming Tide," ^ and "Tynemouth," was 
exhibited at the sixteenth annual exhibition of the American 
Watercolor Society, New York, in 1883. 

" Inside the Bar " has for its chief figure a sturdy, bare- 
headed fisher-woman standing on the beach, holding an 
empty basket on her left arm, with her right arm akimbo, 

1 Owned by Mr. Charles S. Homer. A caricature of this work was exhibited 
in New York under the title " Hoop-la ! Dad 's Gone ! " Winslow Homer saw 
it and was much amused by it. 


her feet firmly planted rather wide apart, as she braces her- 
self to stand against the strong wind, which blows her 
apron out like a sail. The background is the sea, with a 
short stretch of still water, then a sand bar, against which 
the surf breaks in white foam, and two boats are seen in the 
middle distance to right and left. There is vigorous move- 
ment in the chief figure, which is superb in the uninten- 
tional nobility of its pose. The line formed by the apron 
as it is blown out by the wind is a truly admirable touch. 
The dark sky, with its masses of gray clouds and its im- 
plications of wind, is vigorously suggested. 

"The Incoming Tide " shows a fisherwoman retreating 
up the wet beach before the swiftly coming waves. She car- 
ries two or three baskets slung over her back, her arms are 
akimbo, her skirt kilted up to save it from a wetting, 
and her figure is vaguely reflected in the shallow pool 
through which she is stepping. In the distance is a sailboat, 
and the sky is full of dark gray clouds. 

" Tynemouth " is mainly remarkable for the play of light 
on the surface of a troubled sea. It is surprising to see how 
simple are the means used to give this wonderful effect of 
reality. This was the forerunner of the greatest of Homer's 
marine masterpieces in oils, painted in the eighties and nine- 
ties. So far as the ability to counterfeit nature is concerned, 
it was already unsurpassed, unequaled, unique. 

" The Life Brigade " is a small watercolor quite similar in 
subject, design, and execution to "Watching the Tempest" 
and " Forebodings." The rage of the storm, the tremendous 
weight and force of the surf, the flying clouds of spray, the 
frowning threat of the dark skies, and the consciousness of 
imminent danger, fill this dramatic little aquarelle with 
power and interest. 


"The Ship's Boat" is a still more direct and thrilling 
chapter of wreck. The boat has been capsized, and four sea- 
men are clinging to the hull, which is lifted by a monstrous 
wave, and borne towards the rocks. " The water is drawn and 
colored with signal knowledge and power. Its liquidity 
and translucence, the countless accidents of its surface, the 
rush and whirl of its eddies, and, above all, the upheaving 
power of its movement, have been seized, comprehended, 
and fixed with unsurpassed fidelity and breadth." ^ 

During his sojourn at Tynemouth, Homer made many 
studies in black and white, using a variety of mediums, such 
as charcoal, crayon, lead pencil, chalk, India ink, and water- 
color wash, on paper of various tints. Although these studies 
were of the nature of memoranda, forming simply one of the 
stages of the process of making pictures, some of them were 
carried to a degree of completeness that gave the impression 
of the scene in a most satisfying manner. The use of white 
chalk for putting in the lights in the charcoal studies on 
tinted paper was remarkably effective. Many familiar figures 
were to be seen in this series of studies, which appeared later 
in finished watercolors or oil paintings, such as the women 
knitting stockings as they pace the beach, the men of the 
life-saving service at their arduous work, the fishermen, and 
other Tynemouth characters with which the artist has made 
us acquainted in his English pictures. His knowledge in the 
drawing of the human figure was exemplified in such studies 
as his " In the Twilight," " A Walk Along the Cliff," " A 
Little More Yarn," etc. ; and his intimate appreciation for 
the sea in action was very impressively manifested in such 
things as his "The Life Boat," "A Rolling Sea," and "The 

1 Twelve Great Artists, by William Howe Downes. Boston: Little, Brown 
& Co., 1900. 

From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Horace D. 
Chapin, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 

Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 

"i\i3iA^ ^^ i^r 


Wreck of the Iron Crown " off Tynemouth. Some of the 
studies were verj^ slight in character, but they told their sto- 
ries with all of the vividness and point of finished pictures. 
The studies of clouds were excellent in their movement and 
light and shade. 

The entire Tynemouth series of watercolors was precisely 
as true to English facts, conditions, and character as the 
American pictures had been to American facts, conditions, 
and character. This because the artist had no parti pris, in 
either case; he painted the things he saw, and added no 
comment. His work continued to be, in a certain sense, 
historical rather than critical. Homer was, all his life, a 
historian, a reporter, but in an uncommonly impartial and 
detached manner. His natural and unstudied adherence to 
literal truth, seemingly not a singular merit in an artist, was, 
after all, the great thing that stayed with him throughout 
his career. How rare it is will be discovered by any investi- 
gator who candidly sets out to seek for it in the works of 
men. His power or faculty of seeing things in their integ- 
rit}', and of rendering that aspect of them in pictures, is one 
of the least common of attainments. This is what makes his 
pictures of the Tynemouth series, in common with his Ameri- 
can subjects, so different from those of other men ; this it 
is which gives them the weight of authority, the power of 
striking the mind, and of remaining in the memory. 

The English series of watercolors exhibited at the Ameri- 
can Watercolor Society's exhibition of 1883, with a subse- 
quent special exhibition of Tynemouth watercolors at Doll & 
Richards' s gallerj' in Boston, 1884, followed up by an exhi- 
bition of drawings and studies a year later, caused many per- 
sons to range themselves among the admirers of Homer's 
works who had been perhaps somewhat lukewarm in their 


appreciation before that time. The Tynemouth work might 
therefore be called a turning-point in the artist's career, so 
far as popular esteem is concerned. There were critics who 
had found his earlier work crude, harsh, and awkward, who 
hastened to acclaim the English series as masterpieces. The 
praise or blame of critics, however, never made any differ- 
ence with Homer, who went serenely on his way, as uncon- 
cerned with such matters as any man that ever lived. 

At the National Academy exhibition of 1883 Homer's con- 
tribution was a large oil painting entitled " The Coming 
Away of the Gale," one of the Tynemouth subjects. It re- 
presents a group of fishermen and coastguardsmen at a life- 
saving station, looking out over the sea, and making prepa- 
rations to launch the lifeboat. The principal figure in the 
foreground is a young fishwife, with her child on her back, 
who is walking along the edge of the bluff, bracing herself 
as she walks against the gale, which blows her draperies 
about her form in picturesque disorder. 

" One Boat Missing," another Tynemouth composition, 
depicts three fishermen's wives gazing seaward from the 
lofty cliffs to count the sails of the home-coming fishing fleet. 
Two of these women are sitting on the rocks; the third 
stands apart, holding a child in her arms. The clouds over- 
head are beginning to break away after a storm. The flut- 
tering skirts of the women indicate the force of the wind. 
The design is novel and fine, and the relation of the figures 
to the landscape is organic. 

Still another Tynemouth subject, called " The Break- 
water," and bearing the date of 1883 (a watercolor), found 
its way into Mr. Clarke's collection. This shows two young 
fishwives of the Christie Johnstone type, one of whom holds 
a basket in her hand, leaning over the stone wall of a break- 


water against which the surf is dashing. Other figures are 
seen towards the end of the jetty, and at the right rises the 
cliff. In the distance some vessels are outlined against the 
horizon, and boats are drawn up on the far beach. 

Although Homer returned from England in 1882, we shall 
see the Tynemouth mise-en-schie reappearing from time to 
time in his later works, with those sturdy and supple figures 
of the English fishwives which fit in so well with the genius 
of the locality. How graphically the characteristic features of 
Tynemouth are embodied in these works is attested by those 
who are familiar with the place itself. The beach, the cliffs, 
the town, the breakwater, the observatory of the coastguards- 
men — commanding a bird's-eye view of a vast expanse of 
the North Sea — all appear and reappear in the Tynemouth 
series. The picturesque phases of the life of the fishing com- 
munity, — the fishermen, the fishwives, the coastguardsmen, 
— are set forth with the intimate actuality that we always 
find in Homer's work, so that Tynemouth and its people will 
always be associated with his name and fame. His slightest 
crayon studies of figures have the pictorial distinction, the 
fine sense of movement, and the singular beauty of design, 
which belong only to the great masters. There is one of 
these in which we see a dozen figures of fishwives with 
creels full of fish on their backs, climbing the sand bank from 
the beach, and silhouetted against a squally sky, which, in 
the nobility of its masses and lines and movement, is of mon- 
umental and classical beauty. When the fishermen beach 
their boats at Tynemouth, they carry the anchors well in- 
shore, and leave the women to discharge the cargo, while 
they, the men, weary from their labors, go straight home to 
eat and sleep. The fishwives go aboard and unload the 
catch, carrying the fish to market, and attending to the sell- 


ing. Then they return to the boats, clean them up, and pro- 
vision them, even arranging- the tackle, so that by the time 
the fishermen have had a good night's rest and plenty of 
home food, their craft are all ready for the next trip to sea. 



1884. ^tat. 48 

How the Homer Brothers discovered and developed a Summer Resort in 
Maine — Description of the Place — Winslo vv Homer' s Studio — His Garden 
— His Way of Living — Identification of his Masterpieces with Prout's Neck. 

ON the east side of Saco Bay, in the town of Scarboro, 
Maine, one hundred and nine miles from Boston, and 
twelve miles from Portland, Prout's Neck is a pro- 
montory which juts out into the Atlantic, the great cliffs fac- 
ing the south and southeast, and ranging from fifty to eighty 
feet high above low- water mark. Named for the family which 
originally owned all of the land on the peninsula, the locality 
was but sparsely settled until after the Homer brothers came 
to the place in 1875 and made it their summer abiding-place. 
In 1875, when Arthur B. Homer first discovered the point, 
and perceived its advantages, there were only three families 
living on Prout's Neck, whereas in 19 10 there were sixty- 
seven houses and seven hotels. From 1875, Arthur B. Homer 
began to go there regularly every summer, from his home 
in Galveston, Texas, but he did not build his first cottage 
until 1882. He was followed by his father and mother and 
his two brothers, and the Homers eventually bought up most 
of the land on the water front, and set out to develop the 
place systematically as a summer resort. Winslow Homer 
had made several visits to Prout's Neck in the summer sea- 
son before he went to England in 1881, making his stay 


usually at a boarding-house or a hotel ; and although one 
of his purposes in going there was to be with his parents 
and his brothers, he soon became very much in love with 
the rugged and picturesque character of the coast, and, after 
his return from England, he determined to make it his home. 
This decision was fortified by his intense aversion to jury 
duty in New York, which was one of the factors that influ- 
enced him in leaving the city. He therefore turned his back 
on the metropolis for good in 1884, and from that time to 
the end of his life, in 1910, he lived at Prout's Neck, " far from 
the madding crowd's ignoble strife," but not by any means 
in that hermit-like seclusion which exaggerated accounts 
would have us believe. 

Prout's Neck is a very beautiful place, with superb cliffs ; 
and the surf that breaks on this bold headland in easterly 
weather is something that must be seen to be realized. From 
the top of the cliffs the ground slopes gently upwards, and 
the summer cottages that now line the shore from the Check- 
ley House to the bathing beach are set back some fifty yards 
or more from the rocks, having between them and the sea a 
fine expanse of green sod and shrubbery. There is a surpris- 
ing and unusual variety of landscape, since only a few rods 
inland one finds a noble pine grove, known as the Sanctu- 
ary, so-called because religious services were in former years 
held there in the open air. A strip of land which includes 
this extremely impressive spot has been given to the Prout's 
Neck Improvement Society by Charles S. Homer for a pub- 
lic park. In the solemn aisle of this pine wood there was a 
dead tree, which it was proposed to cut down and remove, 
but Winslow Homer advised his brother to leave it alone, 
for there was something about it that appealed strongly to 
him, perhaps because it emphasized the wildness and solem- 

From the drawing in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 


From the drawing in the collection of Mrs. Roger S. 
Warner, Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 


nity of the forest, and reminded him of the vast, hushed 
solitudes of the Canadian and Adirondack woods that he 
loved so much. 

No sooner had the artist resolved to make his permanent 
abode at Front's Neck than he set about building a snug 
little cottage for himself, not far from the summer homes of 
his brothers and parents. The situation that he chose was, 
as might be expected in the case of a painter, singularly 
fine. It is near what we may call the southwest corner of 
the promontor}', with a southerly view over the ocean, and 
directly overlooking some of the most interesting rocks of 
the entire Neck. The entrance to the house is on the east 
side, and the whole of the ground floor, with the exception of 
the kitchen space, is given over to the studio. A prominent 
feature of the cottage is the balcony on the ocean side. The 
door is of old, weathered wood, natural color, and of a very 
beautiful grain, with a handsome bronze knocker, bearing in 
low relief the face of a Sibyl, or, possibly, one of the Fates, 
with flowing hair and features of a classic symmetry and 

In the little garden behind the cottage, surrounded by a 
high board fence, topped with lattice-work, the artist found 
recreation and solace in raising all sorts of old-fashioned 
garden flowers, such as roses, cinnamon pinks, English 
primroses, marigolds, pansies, heliotropes, petunias, etc., and 
various vegetables, including sweet corn, of which he was 
ver}' fond. 

By way of experiment he undertook also, one season, to 
raise a crop of tobacco in the garden. He procured some 
seed from the Vuelta Abajo district in Cuba, planted and 
cultivated it, and the tobacco plants grew nicely. He learned 
how to sweat and dry the leaves, then he went to a cigar 


factory in Portland and took lessons from the workmen in 
making cigars. He found this part of the undertaking more 
difficult than he had expected, and his cigars were, on the 
whole, rather rude specimens. He did not repeat the experi- 

Out in front of the cottage, and to the east of it, the lawn 
is accented by the most admirable junipers, which the artist 
trained, after the Japanese fashion, by propping up the 
branches, so that they became in time like wide-spreading 
cedars, of magnificent shape and color and texture. Left to 
themselves, the junipers hug the ground, but when cared for 
in this way, they become wonderfully ornamental trees. Nearer 
the cliffs and the sea, great patches of wild huckleberry 
bushes, which, when I saw them in October, had taken on 
a royal crimson color, of almost dazzling brilliancy, formed 
a nearly impenetrable coppice. Outside of the garden fence, 
near its eastern end, stands an ancient sundial, having for its 
pedestal a worn old mill-stone from some disused grist-mill, 
with its channels chiseled in its surface. On the other side 
of the house stands a gray and weather-worn old pair of 
bitts from a wreck, of which more anon. 

The cottage is of wood, painted a pale green. It has no 
architectural pretensions. In the studio a litter of artist's 
materials, properties, costumes, canvases, and the like, a 
birch-bark canoe from Canada, and an astonishing amount 
of fishing-tackle and sporting appurtenances were usually to 
be seen. Of his brother as a fisherman, Charles S. Homer 
says : " He did not go in for expensive or elaborate tackle, 
but he usually caught the biggest fish." One might make a 
parable of this and apply it to his art. 

The most absurd tales are told about Winslow Homer's her- 
mit-like manner of living at Prout's Neck. Naturally, as one 


of his purposes in settling there was to obtain freedom from 
interruption during his sustained efforts, he could not open 
his doors to all the casual callers who knocked for admission, 
some of whom were inspired by nothing more serious than 
idle curiosity to meet a noted painter and see his work in 
his studio. It may well be that he sometimes, through inad- 
vertence, turned away from his door a visitor whom he 
would really have been glad to welcome, if he had only 
known what his object was ; it is certain that those who did 
partake of his hospitality had no cause to complain of any 

In the library which Winslow Homer collected there was 
a copy of Chevreul's book on color, which his elder brother 
had given him many years ago, and this copy was almost 
read to pieces, so worn was it with use. 

He was accustomed to do a great deal of looking before 
he decided upon a subject to paint ; and sometimes he would 
spend whole days just looking at the sea, without touching 
a brush. Although he was one of the first painters in Amer- 
ica to take the trouble to carry a canvas several miles for 
the purpose of making a study from nature in some place 
which had interested him, yet he did not always work di- 
rectly from nature. His extraordinary memory for visual 
impressions served him so well, that at times he could re- 
cord the scene he wished to paint without any preparation 
except the slightest of notes and the hastiest memoranda. 
He was an early riser, and frequently he would get up at 
half-past four o'clock in the summer, and go off for long 
walks, before anybody else was up, so as to be sure of being 

He knew and loved every part of the cliffs and rocks. A 
beautiful walk runs along the top of the cliffs from his cot- 


tage to the eastward, winding along in front of the unen- 
closed grounds of the cottagers, like the clifi walk at New- 
port and the similar walk at Nahant. As one strolls along 
this path, never out of sight and sound of the sea, there are 
numerous striking points of view, and it is easy to recog- 
nize many of the subjects of Homer's most masterly ma- 
rine pieces. Here are Cannon Rock, the Spouting Cave, 
Kettle Cove, Eastern Point, Pulpit Rock, and the Gilbert 
Rocks. Now one can scramble down over the huge sloping 
ledges to a spot just above high- water mark, and, looking 
back to the westward, obtain a profile view of the subject 
immortalized in the " High Cliff, Coast of Maine." Yonder, 
over miles of open water, lies Wood Island Light, and Bid- 
deford Pool, far in the south. Beyond Eastern Point the 
path turns to the north, and leads back to a pretty cove^ 
with a clean sand beach, the bathing-beach, with its rows of 
bath-houses, a short distance from which lie rocky islets 
which are the resorts of seals. Just back of the bathing 
beach is a neat bath-house built by Winslow Homer, which 
he rented to the Prout's Neck people until he had got back 
the amount of money it had cost him, when he gave it to 
the local improvement association. 

Homer usually stayed at Prout's Neck until the first heavy 
snow-storm in December, then he locked up his cottage for 
the rest of the winter, and started for the south, — Florida, 
Nassau, or Bermuda ; but he generally returned to Prout's 
Neck as early as the month of March. There were some 
years that he remained at the shore all winter, though he 
made occasional trips to Boston and New York. He em- 
ployed a man to come to the house in the morning and at- 
tend to the household chores. The rest of the time he was 
alone, except when he had occasion to employ a model. In 

From the etching by Winslow Homer, after his oil paint- 
ing in the collection of Mr. G. W. Elkins. Copyright by 
C. Klackner, New York 


the summer there would usually be quite a colony of the 
Homers here, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur B. Homer 
and their two sons, Arthur P. and Charles L. Homer, Mr. 
and Mrs. Charles S. Homer, and Winslow's father, who, 
after the death of his wife, in 1884, lived with Winslow until 
his own death in 1898. 

Arthur B. Homer's cottage is but a few steps away from 
Winslow's studio. For ten or eleven years Winslow's constant 
companion was his dog Sam, an Irish terrier, whose death was 
such a source of grief to his master that he would never get 
another dog. Winslow Homer was very fond of his two 
nephews, and when they were small boys he made two 
amusing drawings of them, setting forth in slightly sarcastic 
fashion their respective characteristics. " Little Arthur in 
Fear of Harming a Worm" is stepping gingerly over an 
angle-worm, full of consideration lest he should injure it ; 
while in the drawing of " Little Charlie's Innocent Amuse- 
ments" the dear child is shown sitting on a pet cat and 
mercilessly pulling the tail of the dog. He also made a draw- 
ing in lead-pencil of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur B. Homer dur- 
ing their honeymoon, at Front's Neck : the lady seated on 
the ground near Kettle Cove, while her husband, reclining 
at her feet, looks up at her. This is on gray paper, with the 
lights touched in with Chinese white. 

Besides the little cottage which he occupied himself, 
Winslow Homer built and rented to summer sojourners an- 
other cottage, near Kettle Cove, a little farther east. He said 
that he intended to live there when he got to be old. " Other 
men build houses to live in," he once remarked ; " I build 
this one to die in." He never occupied it, but he hung in 
the ground-floor rooms a few of his early oil paintings, 
which I saw when I was at Prout's Neck in the fall of 1910. 


There were, among other canvases, all unframed, the study 
of the Waverley Oaks, painted when the Homers lived at 
Belmont ; the landscape with the figures of two boys, which 
perhaps is identical with the "Crossing the Pasture" of 
1872 ; a picture of a number of figures climbing Mount 
Washington, dating from 1869 or 1870; a study of the 
kneeling figure of a young woman, one arm and hand being 
left unfinished ; a study of a girl in a rose-pink shirt-waist 
leaning against the massive trunk of a great beech tree; 
and the full-length figure of a girl in an apple orchard. 

In Arthur B. Homer's cottage are a certain number of 
early works in oil, watercolor, and black-and-white by Wins- 
low. In the living-room is an autumn scene in the country, 
where two boys and a girl are holding up a large table- 
cloth under the branches of a chestnut tree while a boy (who 
is unseen) shakes down the nuts. There is an oil painting 
of a great sand dune, with figures, painted in the fifties, at 
Marshfield, Massachusetts. The chief figure was painted 
from the artist's mother. 

Between the periods of strenuous work on his oil paint- 
ings it was Homer's custom to do some manual labor, a 
sensible and useful change of occupation, which rested him 
and for the time being relieved the strain on his nerves. He 
not only performed the garden work of which we have 
spoken ; he built a stone wall, constructed a dog house for 
Sam ; and once, when he had made a firm of picture dealers 
wait a long time for a reply to a business letter, he finally 
wrote, apologizing for his tardiness by stating that he had 
been very busy building the dog-house. 

Homer lived well at Front's Neck. He arranged to have 
a box or a barrel of fresh provisions sent down from the 
Boston market once or twice a week, and he had the best 


tliat the market afforded. He did most of his own cooking, 
and was an adept at it ; but when he got deeply absorbed 
in painting he often forgot to eat at regular intervals. One 
of his personal idiosyncrasies was his custom of buying 
things in large quantities. If he found anything in a store 
that suited him he would buy all there was of it in stock. 
Thus he purchased his underclothing by the gross, — 
imagine buying one hundred and forty-four pairs of socks 
at once, for instance. When one of his brothers gently re- 
monstrated with him for this extravagance, he retorted : 
" When will you learn that the time to buy a thing is when 
you find what you want ? If you go back the next year and 
try to get more, they will try to sell you something else." 

One summer, many days passed in which Homer did no 
painting at all. His brothers did not quite understand this 
unusual idleness. Finally his elder brother ventured to remon- 
strate. " What is the use of all this fooling around ? " he 
asked. " Why don't you do something ? " In a good-natured 
tone he was told to mind his own business, but no explana- 
tion was offered. There in the studio was a large canvas, the 
palette all set, and yet day after day passed, and nothing was 
done. Presently it became apparent that the painter was 
waiting for a certain effect of weather or of light. The whole 
summer passed away, and he did not get what he wanted. 
"But he got it the next year," remarked his brother. He 
knew precisely what he wanted, and could wait patiently 
until the opportunity came to him. 

Few American painters are so closely identified with one 
locality as is Homer with Front's Neck. The spot is and will 
be always associated with his life and work and personality. 
The grandeur of its cliffs, and the rush and turmoil of the surf 
on the ledges cannot be seen without the thought of the mas- 


terpieces of art created among these scenes. Prout's Neck is 
as intimately associated with Homer's labors of a quarter of a 
century as Barbizon is with the works of Millet. Turn where 
we may, there is something to remind us of Winslow Homer. 
The spirit of the place is bound up in his pictures. In winter 
storms, in moonlit summer nights, in time of peril and wreck, 
at the still hours of dawn and sunset, all the moods of nature 
recall his creative activity, and the loving familiarity with 
which each phase of beauty or of grandeur has been inter- 

As the great waves break upon these dark and streaming 
rocks, and toss high their plumes of silvery spray, we see 
him at work, and realize anew the unfaltering fidelity and 
noble simplicity with which he strove to make himself the 
true and modest translator of nature's marvels. The breezes 
that sweep up from the North Atlantic through the Maine 
pines are not more pungent and bracing than his pictures. 
Here, when the dull roar of the northeaster fills the air with 
its vibrating diapason, and the thickening snow drives before 
the bitter gale, the voices of the storm must forevermore 
recall the man who loved the wild and wintry rage of the 
elements as others love soft sunshine, summer calm, and fire- 
side comfort. There was something in that solitary soul 
which responded with passionate joy to the call of the tem- 
pest. In the midst of its boisterous transports he was at 
home, and, like Byron, he could say : — 

And I have loved thee. Ocean ! and my joy 
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be 
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward ; from a boy 
I vyantoned with thy breakers. 

And trusted to thy billows far and near. 

And laid my hand upon thy mane, — as I do here. 


O H H 
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Surely it may be said that he was led to Prout's Neck. 
There he was to confront, contemplate, study, and grapple 
with all the earnestness of which he was capable the supreme 
artistic problem of his career. All that he had done and ac- 
complished before, in Boston, New York, Tynemouth, and 
elsewhere, was as a trifle in comparison, a preliminary essay 
of his strength, a preparatory course of training for this task 
appointed for him. He had always been sincere, industrious, 
single-minded, ardent ; he was now to be called upon to be 
more so than ever. All his knowledge and all his courage 
were to be demanded of him. The place, the time, and the 
man were well met. The opportunity was large ; the call 
urgent and unmistakable ; and every fibre in his nature 



1884. ^tat. 48 

The Story-Telling Picture — Sources of Prejudice against it — Various 
Comments on and Descriptions of "The Life Line" — Exhibitions in 
Boston — An Anecdote of a Commission for a Picture which was declined. 

WHEN he left New York and established his home 
at Prout's Neck, in 1884, Homer took with him a 
number of unfinished oil paintings which he had 
begun from studies made at Tynemouth and at Atlantic 
City, New Jersey. Living as he now did in a perpetual tete- 
a-tete with the ocean, which beat upon the great ledges 
almost at his door, he signalized the beginning of his most 
important series of sea pieces, a series which was to engross 
him for more than twenty-five years, by completing and 
sending to the National Academy exhibition of 1884 his 
celebrated composition entitled " The Life Line." 

The shipwrecks which he had witnessed in England led him 
to feel the wish to describe in his pictures a not uncommon 
scene during a storm off the New Jersey coast, the rescue of 
seamen and passengers from a shipwrecked vessel by the 
use of the breeches buoy. He had therefore gone to Atlantic 
City in 1883 and had made friends of the members of one of 
the life-saving crews there, who gave him every help possi- 
ble, illustrating and explaining the method of employing the 
life line. Incidentally, while at Atlantic City, he had the good 
fortune to see a rescue from drowning, which gave him the 


idea for another picture, " Undertow," which he began at 
once upon his return to his New York studio, but which he 
did not get ready to exhibit until 1887. 

The picture of "The Life Line" is one of the most 
dramatic and striking of his story-telling pictures, and it 
had an immediate and emphatic popular success. Modern 
art criticism views with aversion if not with contempt the 
story-telling picture ; and almost all the American painters 
of Homer's time, with a few notable exceptions, such as 
Eastman Johnson and Thomas Hovenden, were more or less 
inoculated with Whistler's pet doctrine of art for art. Plausible 
studio theorists would tell you that a "literary" subject — 
by which they meant a subject in which the human interest 
predominated — was inevitably fatal to a picture. A part 
of this feeling arose, perhaps, from a reaction against the 
banalit}' of the British school of genre painting, as exempli- 
fied in the episodic sentimentalities of the Royal Academy. 
Another source of the prejudice was the unquestionable in- 
feriority of the work of many of our own men whose pictures 
of familiar life were trivial in motive and mediocre in execu- 
tion. But the theorists forgot that their attitude on this ques- 
tion could find no justification in a broad view of the history 
of the art of painting ; forgot that the greatest painters of all 
periods were the most human of men in their sentiments, 
the most vivid and eloquent illustrators of life and manners, 
equally great as men and as artists. For the artists who de- 
liberately turned their backs on the life of the day all about 
them, and sought to divorce their art from the daily interests 
of the people, the error was a serious one. Now, Winslow 
Homer was not a theorist ; we never hear of him expound- 
ing what art is and what it is not, what it can do and 
what it cannot do. He never had to ask himself whether 


he was a realist, an impressionist, a symbolist, a luminarist, 
or a pre-Raphaelite. He belonged to none of the camps. He 
told stories in his pictures because the story-telling instinct 
in him irresistibly impelled him, because it is an instinct that 
is universal, and responds to a universal impulse in every 
age and land. He told them without triviality, because 
triviality was alien to his nature. In some of his sea tales he 
attempted what no painter before him had ever dared to at- 
tempt, and he must have been aware of the extraordinary 
difficulties, but he was undaunted by them. 

It needs but a glance at this subject, "The Life Line," 
for example, to show that there were possibilities in it of 
failure, of ineptitude, of anti-climax. It may be assumed that 
nine painters in ten would have pronounced the design in 
itself a pictorial impossibility. But where there is a will 
there is a way. Homer met such problems as this, and by the 
exercise of artistic tact and audacity, he turned difficulties 
into triumphs. In spite of all obstacles, he succeeded in 
developing here a design which compels admiration, and em- 
bodies in a novel arrangement one of the most thrilling situ- 
ations of deadly peril and heroic rescue ever committed 
to canvas. I need not say that "The Life Line" mani- 
fests a masterly grasp of reality. It is awe-inspiring in its 
delineation of the fearful forces of the tempestuous sea. All 
the terrors of shipwreck are brought home to the mind by 
the scene. The spectator, too, may be as much thrilled 
by the thought of the man's ingenuity who invented the 
breeches buoy, — a device that has saved so many valuable 
lives, — as he is by the courage of the sailor hero whose 
hardihood and adresse is put to the test in this hour of dire 

It is difficult to describe the composition satisfactorily. 

From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. R. A. Thompson 


DE CUBA From the watercolor in the collection 

From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. F. Rockefeller, 

of Mrs. Roger S. Warner, Bos- Cleveland, Ohio 
ton. Photograph by Ches- 
ter A . Lawrence 


'Ah?. . 

W05-i'5"bP.O ■ 


Several writers have made the attempt, and I shall venture 
to quote from four of them. A contemporary description 
from " The Studio," which was copied in Dr. Charles M. 
Kurtz's "Academy Notes" for 1884, runs as follows: — 

" The canvas represents the trough of a tremendous sea. 
At the left, from a ship, indicated by a rent piece of sail, ex- 
tends the life Hne across the crests, to the shore on the 
right In the centre of the hollowed trough is seen a life 
chair suspended from the line by ropes and pulleys, and in 
this chair is seated a seaman holding in his arms the uncon- 
scious form of a woman. The wet garments cling about her 
and the lower portion of the dress has been torn by the vio- 
lence of the sea. The seaman's face is not seen, for a muffler, 
or tippet, which a gust of wind has blown directly in front 
of him." 

The description given in the catalogue of the Thomas B. 
Clarke collection, 1899, is as follows : — 

" Stretched across the upper part of the composition is 
a great cable, attached to which is the boatswain's chair, 
wherein sits a sturdy seaman, clasping in his strong arms 
the fainting figure of a shipwrecked woman. Her clinging 
garments, saturated with the salt water, outline her form, 
except where they are distended by the force of the gale. 
The sea breaks and tumbles about in awful turbulence be- 
neath the seaman and his charge as they are being drawn 
slowly but surely on the life line to the shore. ..." 

According to Samuel Swift, in the " New York Mail and 
Express," March 19, 1898, "The Life Line" is scarcely ex- 
celled as an expression of the force and power of the ocean, 
of the irresistible might of its blows, and of the comparative 
helplessness of human strength amid such titanic stresses 
and strains. " It tells a story, but this is merely incidental. 


The interest lies less in a speculation whether the brave life- 
saver will reach land in safety with the half-drowned woman 
whom he holds fast to him, than in a realization of the un- 
governable sway of the water, as illustrated by its effect on 
the mortals who endeavor to elude its grasp." He adds the 
remark that " Mr. Homer wisel}^ hid the face of the coast- 
guard with the scarf that has blown across it, in order to 
help concentrate attention upon the real subject of the 

Description and criticism are blended in Mrs. Van Rens- 
selaer's ^ remarks about " The Life Line " : — 

" In a yawning hollow between two watery mountains 
swings a slender rope, and, made fast to it, a sturdy sailor 
bearing across his knees the unconscious figure of a girl. No 
one could have painted a scene like this with such convincing 
strength who had not lived among the breakers and the 
tragedies they work ; but no one, on the other hand, who 
lacked that constructive imagination which the thorough- 
going realist professes to despise. The theme, in its essen- 
tials, was the saving of a woman's life. To express it the 
painter gave prominence to her blanched face and half-clothed 
form ; and he clearly showed, in contrast, the vigor of the 
sinews which upheld her and the tremendous rage of the sea. 
These he had shown, and all else he had omitted. There is 
nothing unusual here, you may say — any artist would have 
gone about his task in just this manner. But how many 
would have known what Homer knew — that among the 
things to omit was the sailor's face? How many would have 
felt that to paint it as it must be painted, if at all, would be 
to distract attention from the principal figure, to create two 

1 Six Portraits, by Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 
& Co., 1894. 


centres of interest, to weaken, not enhance, the impressive- 
ness of the whole ? " 

It may be thought that Mrs. Van Rensselaer lays more 
emphasis than is necessary upon the covering up of the 
sailor's face, makes more of this omission than the circum- 
stances warrant. However this may be, it is certain that 
Homer, in this as in all his narrative pictures, appeals to the 
imagination of the observer with exceptional potency by his 
use of the great artistic principle of reserve. He does not 
show us everj'thing, but flatters us by assuming that we can 
exercise pur imaginations and that we are able to reason 
from cause to effect. There is seldom a ship to be seen in his 
shipwreck pictures, but the tale is usually told by suggestion 
and implication. It is an effective method, as is well known, 
and it is but one of many evidences of the resourcefulness 
and sagacity which characterize the artist's designing and 
constructing of his pictures. Mr. Royal Cortissoz has re- 
marked that it seems never to have occurred to him to tell 
a story in paint after the manner of the artist to whom the 
anecdote is everything. " When he attacked a theme he 
gave it its full value, but never let it encroach upon the integ- 
rity of his technique. His art was beautifully balanced. You 
admire it for its own sake, yet this does not keep you from 
admiring its subject. Indeed, the very perfection of the equi- 
librium he established gives to each phase of his work the 
fullest possible force. Thus, while his technique is of the 
highest interest, nature speaks through his work with a 
peculiar richness and fullness." ^ Mr. Cortissoz applies to 
Homer the words used by Matthew Arnold in speaking of 
the "natural magic" of Maurice Guerin, his power to so 
interpret nature as to give us " a wonderfully full, new, and 
' New York Tribune, February 19, 191 1. 


intimate sense" of it. " He stands aside and leaves his facts 
to speak for themselves. His expression corresponds with 
the thing's essential reality." 

" The Life Line " was bought by the late Catherine Loril- 
lard Wolfe for twenty-five hundred dollars. She in turn sold 
it to Mr. Thomas B. Clarke. At the sale of the Clarke col- 
lection in 1899 it was sold for forty-five hundred dollars, an 
advance of two thousand dollars over the price originally re- 
ceived for it by the painter in 1884. It is now in the collection 
of Mr. G. W. Elkins of Philadelphia. 

At the seventeenth annual exhibition of the American 
Watercolor Society, New York, 1884, Homer exhibited two 
subjects, namely, "The Ship's Boat" and " Scotch Mist." 
The former, which was illustrated in the catalogue, was a 
Tynemouth motive. It has been described already. For the 
first time Homer's address is given in the catalogue of 1884 
as "Scarborough, Maine." 

After settling at Prout's neck, Homer held a series of exhi- 
bitions of his works in Boston. His watercolors, drawings, 
studies, and oil paintings were shown, year after year, at the 
old gallery of Doll & Richards, in Park Street, and they met 
with a gratif3dng market and liberal recognition. One of the 
most extensive buyers of his works was the late Edward 
Hooper, Treasurer of Harvard College and one of the mem- 
bers of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts. 
Many of his finest watercolors were included in the Hooper 
collection. These were inherited, upon Mr. Hooper's death, 
by his daughters, Mrs. Horace D. Chapin, Mrs. Bancel La 
Farge, Mrs. Roger S. Warner, and Mrs. John Briggs Potter. 
At that time Homer said that Boston was the only city in the 
United States that gave him any practical encouragement. It 
is but fair to state, however, that New York was not long in 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

^ JSSZmM «0OiJ\QiSift%W 'i:. 


extending to his work the practical recognition that means 
so much to an artist, and the example set by Mr. Thomas B. 
Clarke was no doubt of the utmost value in directing the 
attention of other collectors throughout the country to the 
desirability of his pictures. 

Mention of the frequent exhibitions in Boston reminds me 
of an anecdote. Mr. Moody Merrill, who in the early eighties 
was president of an important street railway company in Bos- 
ton, had a fine country seat in New Hampshire, of which he was 
fond and proud. On meeting Homer one day, he proposed 
to him that he should paint a picture of the Merrill country 
home, a sort of portrait of the place, and he went on to ex- 
plain in considerable detail what he wanted brought into the 
picture in the way of details, and how it should be done. 
Homer, with that faintly quizzical expression about the eyes 
which indicated that he perceived the humorous side of the 
question, heard him out, with patience and courtesy. Then, 
without either accepting or declining the proposal, and with- 
out commenting upon it, he said, briefly, "Well, Mr. Merrill, 
I have usually as many as two exhibitions a year in Boston, 
and if you will step into Doll & Richards's gallery some time, 
and chance to see anything of mine there that you like, you 
are welcome to buy it" 



1885-1886. -iEtat. 49-50 

A Winter in the Bahamas and the South Coast of Cuba — The Color of 
the Tropics — " Searchhght, Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba" — "The 
Gulf Stream" — Later Trips to Nassau, Bermuda, and Florida. 

AFTER overseeing the installation of an exhibition of 
his studies in black-and-white in Boston, early in the 
winter of 1885- 1886, Homer set sail for the Bahama 
Islands, and passed the rest of the winter at Nassau, New 
Providence, the capital of the archipelago, subsequently tak- 
ing passage thence to the South Coast of Cuba. To him, 
whose eyes were so well fitted for seeing all the glory of the 
southern seas, this first voyage in the tropics opened up a 
new world of color. It is not too much to say that he re- 
vealed to the North for the first time what the color of the 
tropics really is like. Other painters had visited Nassau be- 
fore him, but they could neither realize in their fullness nor 
record with adequacy the exquisite colors of the amazing 
harbor of Nassau, with its transparent turquoise blues and 
emerald greens and changing violets. Tones are there which 
vie with the rainbow, the peacock's plumage, the diamond, 
the flowers of the field, and the light of morning skies. 
Under the keen stimulus of such color Homer produced in 
Nassau, with extreme rapidity, a series of w^atercolors which 
have never been surpassed for sheer brilliancy. He painted 
that masterpiece of radiance and luminosity, the " Sponge 


Fisherman, Nassau," and that unequaled revelation of Afri- 
can character, the " Negress with Basket of Fruit," both of 
which were bought by Mr. Martin Brimmer of Boston ; he 
painted also the " Port of Nassau," the " Marlcet Boat," 
"Noon," " Fox Hill," the "Sea Fans," the " Banana Tree," 
" Song Birds, Nassau," " Native Cabin," " Near the Queen's 
Staircase," and many another page of gladness. He showed 
us entrancing glimpses of the flowers and trees and skies 
and reefs of those coral islands where lives the — 

. . . Magic charm 
Of the Bahaman sea. 
That fills mankind with peace of mind 
And soul's felicity. 1 

It seemed too good to be true. Indeed, to the eyes of those 
persons who had never looked upon the Bahamas and the 
Caribbean Sea his pictures of 1 885-1 886 must have appeared 
exaggerated in' color. But travelers who knew their West 
Indies were enraptured by the bold, incisive, direct, pene- 
trating veracity with which the almost incredible splendors 
of those southern waters and islands were rendered. 

It had been said more than once, by more than one critic, 
that Homer was no colorist ; that, though his color was good 
enough, in its way, it had no sensuous charm ; that, though 
it was strong and sure and true, it was sometimes a little 
harsh. Now the Nassau and Cuba series of 1885-1886 com- 
pletely, and once for all, cut the ground from under the feet 
of these critics, and left them with nothing to stand on. 
Again the painter demonstrated that he was capable of re- 
cording the most delicate nuances as well as the most reso- 
nant tones, that he was in a singular degree endowed with 
the faculty of seeing justly and exactly the thing as it exists 

I Bliss Carman, A Winter Holiday. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1899. 


in nature, and of setting it forth without extenuation and 
without prejudice, color and light as well as line and mass. 
The Antillean watercolors were steeped in tropical sunlight. 
Fortuny never excelled their sparkle and radiance. They 
were glowing with the utmost exuberance of intense life. 
Nothing could have been more radically different from the 
English series of 1881 and 1882, yet each was perfectly true 
to local conditions of color, light, and atmosphere. 

Three of the Nassau watercolors were in the famous 
Thomas B. Clarke collection. They were " The Market 
Scene," " Under a Palm Tree," and " The Buccaneers." In 
the " Market Scene " the wonderful harbor of Nassau ap- 
pears, with two boats manned by negro sailors who are bar- 
tering fruit and fish. In the centre is a sloop, with a crowd 
of figures on the deck, dressed in motley costumes. A mem- 
ber of the crew is offering a turtle for sale to the occu- 
pants of the craft at the left. "Under a Palm Tree" is an 
upright composition, with a mulatto girl clad in a gayly 
colored dress and wearing a scarf about her head and neck, 
leaning against the tree trunk ; tropical plants fill the back- 
ground. "The Buccaneers" represents a group of freeboot- 
ers in the shade of some tall palms, watching eagerly the 
progress of a distant sea fight The ocean is of the deep, 
unfathomable, indigo blue of the tropics ; and against the 
luminous sky the fronds of the palms are a vivid green. This 
is a well-imagined reminiscence of the wicked old days of 
piracy that made the waters of the Bahamas notorious in the 
time of Blackbeard, whose headquarters were at Nassau. 

" Conch Divers," which was bought by Russell Sturgis, is 
an admirable design, which depicts a group of three negroes 
on the deck of a sloop, watching the reappearance of a diver 
who is just emerging from the water alongside, with some 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 

_Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

-rr- - nOl j3HT, . 


shells in his hand. The island of New Providence with its 
palms is to be seen in the distance at the right. " Shark 
Fishing, Nassau Bar," shows two negroes in a small boat. 
They have just caught an immense shark, which is in the 
midst of his final flurry, astern of the craft. Among the land- 
scapes there is one entitled "Approaching Tornado," which 
is remarkable for its portentous atmosphere. Thus the Nas- 
sau watercolors gave a comprehensive idea of the life and 
landscape aspect of the Bahamas, a part of the world most 
alluring from the point of view of paintable material, which 
had not before been exploited. 

The Ward Line steamships which touch at Nassau on the 
way southward make their next port at Guantanamo, on 
the south coast of Cuba, and thence they proceed westward 
along the coast to Santiago de Cuba. From this ancient 
Spanish city Homer brought home with him another rich 
series of watercolors, showing the grim, mediaeval rock for- 
tress, known as the Morro, a sort of Caribbean Gibraltar, 
which frowns over the narrow entrance to the land-locked 
harbor ; sundry views of this magnificent harbor, with the 
intensely picturesque town and its grandiose background of 
far violet mountains forming a flat mass at the horizon ; a 
number of street scenes, with the old cathedral, the custom- 
house, the Spanish Club, the cockpit, and the houses of San- 
tiago, low, covered by red-tiled roofs, tinted in pale washes 
of rose, blue, mauve, adorned by the intricately designed 
wrought-iron balconies that one sees in all Cuban towns, 
and blending an air of dignity with a down-at-the-heels, 
squalid, and shiftless condition ; the quaint volantes, which 
were the Cuban cabs of 1886 ; even the frightful sharks 
which infest all the neighboring waters. The Americans who 
looked with casual curiosity at these scenes were far from 


foreseeing that Santiago de Cuba was to become in twelve 
short years from that time the objective of an American 
army of invasion, and that, off the tortuous entrance to this 
noble harbor, in sight of the Morro Castle, was to be fought 
the short, sharp, and decisive naval combat which was des- 
tined to free Cuba forever from the domination of Spain 
and put an end to all Spanish power on this side of the 

The two most important oil paintings produced by Homer 
as the result of his West Indian voyage were not finished 
until some years after his return home, but they were of 
course based upon careful studies made on the spot. These 
were the "Searchlight, Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba," 
and the " Gulf Stream," both of which are now in the per- 
manent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York. The first-named work, which was first seen at a loan 
exhibition of pictures held at the Union League Club, New 
York, after the Spanish-American war of 1898 had made the 
Morro Castle famous, represents in the foreground the comer 
of the fortress, with a round tower like a sentry-box project- 
ing above the parapet, and an obsolete type of cannon ex- 
tending horizontally across the centre of the composition. 
Beyond these dark shapes is a wide expanse of luminous 
pale blue sky, athwart which sweeps the wedge-shaped light 
from a battery on the farther side of the channel, or, possibly, 
from a ship of war. High at the left the moon floats in a ring 
of curdled clouds. The solitude and solemnity of the scene 
impress the imagination, and the mysterious beauty of the 
nocturnal sky forms a piquant foil to the stern, warlike old 
stronghold in the foreground, with its romantic associations 
of Cuban political prisoners languishing in its subterranean 
dungeons. This picture is not dated, and it was painted at 


different times, in the intervals of other work. It was given 
to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Mr. George A. Hearn, 
who paid seventy-five hundred dollars for it. In a letter 
dated December 30, 1901, addressed to Mr. Thomas B. 
Clarke, the artist speaks of the picture as just finished, and 
encloses a rough pen-and-ink sketch showing the point of 
view of the picture and the topography of the surrounding 
country. From this sketch it appears that the searchlight 
was on board of one of the picket vessels of the United 
States fleet lying off the mouth of the harbor in 1898. Sev- 
eral of the ships are indicated on the horizon in this sketch, 
but in the painting they are of course invisible. As the 
painter was not at Santiago in 1898, the effect of the search- 
light introduced in this composition must have been studied 
elsewhere and adapted to the subject, which, in all its other 
features, was based on sketches made in 1886. 

"The Gulf Stream" is as frankly a story-telling piece of 
work as "The Life Line." It is the most elaborately literary 
of the artist's tropical motives. In this composition, which, 
by the way, has too many objects in it to be as unified as 
the majorit}^ of its author's canvases, we see a stalwart negro 
sailor afloat on a dismasted derelict, at the mercy of the ele- 
ments, in the deep blue Caribbean waters. His drifting craft 
is surrounded by hideous and voracious sharks, waiting im- 
patiently for their prey to fall into their hungry maws. In the 
far distance passes an unseeing or indifferent merchant ship. 
At some distance from the derelict is a waterspout. The 
tragedy is enhanced in its horror by the strange beauty of the 
southern sea. Here are no heroics, no rhetoric, no explanatory 
passages, to detract from the bald and fateful presentation of 
cruel fact. The denouement is only too clearly inevitable. It 
is not a pretty drawing-room tale, but a grim and ghastly 


one. Kenyon Cox ' remarks that the work is not without cer- 
tain obvious faults. "The tubby boat has been objected to 
by experts in marine architecture, and the figure of the negro 
is by no means faultless in its draughtsmanship, while there 
is a certain hardness of manner in the painting of the whole 
canvas. But these things scarcely obscure the dramatic force 
of the composition, which "enders it one of the most power- 
ful pictures Homer ever painted. Nor is it merely a piece of 
illustration. Its admirable mastery of design, and the conse- 
quent perfection with which it renders the helpless sliding of 
the boat into the trough of the sea, should be obvious in the 
photograph. There is not an inch of any of the innumerable 
lines of the magnificent wave drawing that does not play its 
part in a symphony of line. What the reproduction cannot 
render is the superb depth and quality of the blue of the 
water, of such wonderful passages of sheer painting as the 
distance, with the ship driving by under full sail, or the dash 
of spray from the tail of the nearest shark." 

"The Gulf Stream" was not finished until 1899, and when 
it was exhibited a few years later (1906) at the National 
Academy of Design, the entire jury recommended its pur- 
chase by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a manifestation of 
the high esteem in which the artist was held by his profes- 
sional brethren and of the occasional gratifying unanimity of 
opinion held by American painters regarding works of art. 
When the painting was brought before the jury, a murmur 
of admiration was heard, and one of the painters said : 
"Boys, that ought to go to the Metropolitan ! " A letter ad- 
dressed to the director of the Museum was at once drawn up 
and signed by all the members of the jury, suggesting that 

1 Kenyon Cox, "Three Pictures by Winslow Homer in the Metropolitan 
Museum." The Burlington Magazine, London, November, 1907. 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Charles W. 

Gould, New York 




^^H^^^^^^^ ^^^^K 





the Museum should purchase the picture. This was imme- 
diately despatched to Sir Caspar Purdon Clarke, and the 
following day Mr. Roger Fry appeared at the gallery and 
inspected the picture. Two days later the Museum sent word 
that it would take the picture. 

The " Evening Post " critic called it " that rare thing in 
these days, a great dramatic picture," and added : " Partly 
because the horror is suggested without a trace of sentimen- 
tality, and partly because every object in the picture receives 
a sort of even, all-over emphasis that shows no favor to the 
dramatic passages, the story never overweighs the artistic 
interest." The "Tribune" critic found in the work dramatic 
power, a sense of life vividly observed, and, in the ship on 
the horizon, a suggestion of hope receding which put, in 
Kipling's phrase, "the gilded roof on the horror." The critic 
of "The Sun" discovered that the picture contained more 
shudders than Gericault's " Raft of the Medusa," and other 
writers drew attention to certain similarities of the subject to 
Turner's " Slave Ship." Mr. Riter Fitzgerald, in the Phila- 
delphia " Item," attacked the work savagely, calling it a 
unique burlesque on a repulsive subject, " a naked negro 
lying in a boat while a school of sharks were waltzing around 
him in the most ludicrous manner." The same writer thought 
that the artist had painted it with "a sense of grim humor," 
and that its proper place was in a zoological garden. He 
stated that when the work was first shown in Philadelphia 
it was laughed at. Still another critic remarked that sharks 
" are neither pretty nor artistic looking creatures," but that 
their presence in this canvas gave it "a touch of grotesque 
hideousness that adds immeasurably to the sense of the im- 
pending tragedy." 

On his return from the West Indies in the latter part of 


the winter of 1886, Homer almost immediately prepared and 
opened a small exhibition of his watercolors at the gallery of 
Doll & Richards, in Boston. He exhibited fifteen subjects 
from the Bahamas and fourteen from Santiago de Cuba. 

He went to Nassau again several times, and, in later years, 
to Florida and to Bermuda, during the winter. These trips 
were made, sometimes alone, and sometimes in company 
with his father or his elder brother, and they were not always 
primarily for sketching purposes, though he almost always 
did some watercolor work, notably in 1898, 1899, 1900, and 
1903. Several journeys to Florida with his brother Charles 
were fishing trips, the place selected for this purpose being 
Enterprise, on the St. John's River, where the bass fishing is 
excellent. Enterprise is a little-known winter resort, in Vo- 
lusia County, on the Florida East Coast Railway, at the head 
of navigation on the St. John's, and adjoining Lake Monroe. 

The brothers also made a fishing trip to Tampa, Florida. 
I have seen a series of photographs taken by Winslow 
Homer on this occasion, and in one of the snap-shots there 
is a good-sized wooden box in the foreground, which was 
used to carry luncheon in. It chanced to be an old whiskey 
box, and the name of the distillery was stenciled on the side 
of the box. When Winslow Homer came to develop the 
print, and to give his brother a copy of it, he pointed out 
the lettering on the box, and said, with a smile, "This sort 
of thing is calculated to give people a wrong impression." 



1885-1888. ^tat. 49-52 

" The Fog Warning " — " Lost on the Grand Banks " — " Hark ! the 
Lark " — " Undertow " — " Eight Bells " — The Genesis of a Deep-Sea 

THE first few years at Prout's Neck were prolific both 
in oil paintings and watercolors. "The Life Line" of 
1884 was the beginning of a notable series of oil 
paintings of marine subjects with figures, a series which 
includes "The Fog Warning" and "Banks Fishermen" (or 
"The Herring Net"), of 1885, "Lost on the Grand Banks," 
"Undertow," and " Eight Bells," of 1886. With the collection 
of watercolors from Nassau and Cuba which, as has been 
noticed, was held in Boston directly after his return from the 
West Indies in the winter of 1886, were shown a couple of 
oil paintings which were at that time catalogued as " The 
Herring Net" and "Halibut Fishing," but which have since 
then become famous under the altered titles of " Banks Fish- 
ermen" and "The Fog Warning." 

"Banks Fishermen" depicts two fishermen in a dory haul- 
ing in a net full of the silvery and squirming little herring 
which gave to the work its original name. One of the men 
is standing amidships and leaning over, emptying the her- 
ring from the net into the bottom of the boat. His mate, sit- 
ting on the gunwale, at the left, with his back to the observer, 
pays out the empty net. Back of the two figures, at the 
right, the crossed oar blades rest against the bow of the dory. 


In the foreground the water is greenish, and near the centre 
is a red buoy. In the hazy distance three sailboats appear on 
the horizon. The movement of the dory, poised on the side 
of a wave, and careening away from the observer, the action 
of the two figures, the flow of the water, are admirably ren- 
dered. The color is strong and effective. When the work 
was shown in New York, at the autumn Academy of 1885, 
one of the critics justly remarked that it was the only picture 
in the exhibition calculated to give one a high idea of Ameri- 
can art. The canvas measures thirty inches high by forty- 
eight and one-eighth inches wide. It was exhibited at the 
World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, 1893, under the 
title of " Herring Fishing," and received a medal there. It 
belongs to Mr. Charles W. Gould. 

"The Fog Warning" (or "Halibut Fishing") represents 
a Banks fisherman in oilskins and sou'wester returning to 
his schooner with two or three fine halibut as his prizes 
stowed in the stern of his dory. The water is dark and glassy 
in the light of late afternoon, and the sea is rough. Aloft the 
sky is still bright, but near the horizon is a distant bank of 
fog of a dark slate color. The sails of the schooner are visi- 
ble far off at the right ; and the fisherman rests on his oars 
momentarily, turning his head in order to make out where- 
away his vessel lies. The bow of the dory lifts, letting us 
see its whole shape, as the stern settles in the trough. The 
drawing of the wave forms is incisive, clear, firm, expressive, 
and masterly. The buo3^ancy of the dory, riding lightly on 
the choppy seas, and the hard and almost metallic aspect of 
the water in the dull light, are among the admirably studied 
details of this simple and noble work. Under the original 
and soon abandoned title of " Halibut Fishing," which was 
decidedly too prosaic, there was hardly any suggestion of 


From the photogravure, copyright by Winslow Homer 

and published by C. Klackner, New York, after the oil 

painting in the permanent collection of the Lay ton Art 

Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 


any danger to the man. The revised title is an unusually 
good example of how a tide may be made to give just the 
requisite direction to the imagination of the observer. There 
is surely a fog rising }'onder, and just as surely a fog may 
spell danger to the man so far away from his schooner. 
"Halibut Fishing" does not direct our thought to that pos- 
sibility of danger ; " The Fog Warning" serves to make the 
picture tell its story better. 

"A suggestion of peril in terms of studied restraint is 
more in consonance with the tone of that life of exposure 
and risk, where men face death almost incessantly for the 
sake of a few dollars' worth of fish, than would be a too em- 
phatic insistence or a too particular explanation of the sig- 
nificance of the menace which creeps upward in gray folds 
from the horizon. Men who are accustomed to danger oc- 
cupy a mental attitude towards it that has no room for melo- 
dramatic pose. Simple, sober, the unconscious hero of the 
picture turns to get the bearings of his schooner as he bends 
to his oars with all the steadiness of a man who has a long 
way to row and who must neither waste his strength in 
spurts nor lose his head. Small amidst the waves of the At- 
lantic looks his dory, far away seems the vessel, hard and 
cruel is the complexion of the sea. . . . Winslow Homer 
would in all probability be the first to disclaim any intention 
of phOosophy, of literary theories, of didacticism, in his art. 
If I know anything of the nature of artists, he would say, in 
effect, that he had no such meaning in his mind when he 
painted ' The Fog Warning.' All true enough, no doubt. 
We must admire and approve the narrow, exclusive single- 
mindedness of the artist ; but if life itself be full of these 
meanings, the art that holds the mirror up to nature cannot 
fail to reflect them. Let it be the painter's part to see, to ob- 


serve, to study the true exterior expression of things, and 
the interpretation thereof may well be left to take care of 
itself." 1 

In the making of this picture, Homer was obliged to place 
the dory where he could draw and paint it under the proper 
light, but in a motionless pose, so to say ; so he had it pulled 
up on the beach until the bow was elevated at the desired 
angle against a sand dune ; the model then took his posi- 
tion in the boat, and that part of the composition was fin- 
ished without much difficulty. The surprising success of the 
combination lies in the buoyancy and swing of the boat in 
its relation to the water which upholds it. Not only does the 
dory give the impression of movement and of a thing afloat, 
it also seems to be miles on miles from land. I have heard 
several persons speak of the water as too hard. Against this 
opinion it would be perfectly safe to trust the trained judg- 
ment of the painter, even if our own experience did not sup- 
ply ample evidence in his favor. " The Fog Warning " was 
given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1894, by Miss 
Norcross and Mr. Grenville H. Norcross, in the name of the 
Otis Norcross fund. It has been very extensively reproduced 
in black-and-white, and is a strong popular favorite with 
visitors to the museum galleries. 

The picture called " Lost on the Grand Banks " is dated 
1886. It has certain similarities to the "Fog Warning," 
but its suggestions of tragedy are even more direct and ob- 
vious. The subject may be described as follows : In the fore- 
ground is a dory with two fishermen, wearing oilskins and 
sou' westers. Both men have been rowing, but are now rest- 
ing on their oars, the stroke bending wearily over his oar, 

1 " American Paintings in the Boston Art Museum," by William Howe Downes, 
in Brush and Pencil, Chicago. 


and turning his head to the right to look, vainly, for any signs 
of the schooner, which has been hid by the wreaths of cold 
gray fog which are stealing over the surface of the rough 
sea. The other oarsman, leaving his thwart, and grasping the 
gunwale to steady himself, has risen stiffly to his feet, and is 
peering anxiously into the smother of fog off to port, as if he 
fancied he had seen some dim shape in the distance in that 
direction, and were straining his eyes to make out if it might 
perchance be anything more than a figment. The boat is 
rising, with a twisting motion, on a great wave, the bow to 
the right, at an angle which brings the starboard quarter 
of the craft nearest to the point of vision ; and the spume of 
the near wave-crest shoots above the boat's side, as if the 
sea were hungrj' to swallow its prey. Is it necessary to say 
how this sea is rendered ? Not, surely, to those who are 
familiar with the deep-sea pictures of Homer's prime. The 
drawing of the wave forms, the gradations of gray, saturated 
atmosphere, the mysterious sense of swirling vapors, alter- 
nately thickening and thinning, and the irresistible sugges- 
tion of a vast hollow space, far from land, in which the tiny 
bark is tossing helpless, a mere speck in an infinitude of de- 
vouring waters, of boundless and heartless wastes, oppress 
the mind with a poignant realization of the desperate pass 
to which these men have come. 

Here we see the imagination, using nothing but realities of 
the strictest nature, working out pictorial results that speak 
to the emotions and sj^mpathies, appealing to the inextin- 
guishable human reverence for the modest and brave man's 
performance of the day's duty. If I read the moral into the 
picture, it is because I cannot help it. The underlying mo- 
tive of the fisherman's adventure is a heroic unselfishness 
and a willingness to take what comes. This glorifies the 


hard, stern, rough, weary ways of his life ; weaves the rain- 
bow hues of romance about his toilsome and risky calling ; 
nay, invests his sufferings, his despair, his death, all borne 
with silent stoicism, with the sacred light of honor, of hope, 
of manhood vindicated. 

"Lost on the Grand Banks" was first exhibited at the 
old club-house of the Saint Botolph Club, at 85 Boylston ' 
Street, Boston, in the spring exhibition of 1886, held from 
April 15 to May i. It was listed at eighteen hundred dollars. 
It is now in the collection of Mr. John A. Spoor of Chicago, 
who lent it to the autumn exhibition of American paintings 
and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1910. 

"Undertow," finished in 1886, was exhibited in New York 
in 1887, at the Academy, where it was hung in a place of 
honor on the north wall of the south gallery. It was exhibited 
soon afterwards in Boston. As in "The Life Line," of 1884, 
this composition is an original and thrilling pictorial episode 
of rescue. The picture had been begun before Homer left 
New York, and much of the work on it had been done on the 
roof of the studio building there. The incident itself had been 
witnessed by the artist at Atlantic City, at the time when he 
was there for the purpose of obtaining the data for the pic- 
ture of "The Life Line." The two young women who posed 
for the half-drowned bathers in "Undertow" were locked in 
each other's arms and dressed in bathing suits, which were 
drenched with water thrown over them, so that the effect of 
the sun on the wet clothing and the bare arms as well as the 
faces and hair should be entirely in accordance with the nat- 
ural appearance of the group emerging from the surf. The 
incident depicted is not uncommon. The two young women 
are being brought out of the surf by two men who have 
saved them from drowning. Like all good pictures, this one 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Edward D. 

Adams, New York 


A .^5«I!Y> 


tells its own story. Some of the details may be left to the 
imagination, but every one may infer all the significant and 
vital effects from an examination of the painting. The inter- 
laced forms of the two women in the middle of the group 
indicate that in all probability one of the bathers ventured 
beyond her depth and was caught and swept seaward by the 
treacherous undertow, and that when the other woman un- 
dertook to help her, the more exhausted and frightened of 
the pair threw her arms about the friend's neck, thus imped- 
ing her movements and adding to her own peril. Assistance, 
however, was at hand in the nick of time : here are two hardy 
swimmers, one a young man in swimming trunks, the other 
a fisherman or a member of a life-saving crew, who have suc- 
ceeded in bringing the women into shallow water, and are 
just about to carry them up onto the beach, not too soon, how- 
ever, since one of the two has lost consciousness, and both 
are apparently helpless and exhausted. 

As a background for the group of four figures, which is 
composed chainwise, all linked together, yet each link hav- 
ing its own individuality, there is a huge blue-green wave 
coming towards us, and about to break over the figures in 
the foreground. Shining with moisture, in the full, strong 
light of a noonday sun, the figures are wonderfully an or- 
ganic part of the luminous scene. The striking linear beauty 
of " Undertow " was cordially and justly praised by Mrs. Van 
Rensselaer, who wrote that the lines of the figures "had that 
harmony and dignity which we call Greek, for no better rea- 
son than that so few of us know how to see and appreciate 
them when by some happy chance actual existence sets them 
before our eyes." ^ 

1 Six Portraits. By Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer. Boston and New York: 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1894. 


The purely artistic interest and beauty of this work, with 
its audacious grouping of four figures, was, however, not 
fully appreciated at the time it was shown, in 1887. On the 
one hand a certain number of doctrinaires could not accept 
without protest a painting so literary, so much like a mere 
illustration, and on the other hand there were naturally many 
persons who could enjoy its human interest but were not 
qualified to realize the aesthetic distinction of the picture, its 
extraordinary beauty of design, its superb construction, the 
splendor of its lighting and its color. 

"Undertow" was excellently reproduced in the "Tatler," 
a London periodical, on August 3, 1910, with this curiously 
misleading inscription above the engraving: — 

And in their death they were not divided. 

Of course the painting depicts a successful rescue from 
death by drowning, and not, as the "Tatler" editors imply, 
the recovery of the bodies of two drowned persons. 

Although a great work of art may be no greater on account 
of the special difficulties that beset the artist in making it, 
we have to remember that such subjects as "Undertow" are 
necessarily painted in a large degree from memory ; and I 
speak of it here because it is interesting to note to what an 
extent a painter is able to develop this faculty, the exercise 
of which involves some of the most astounding mental feats 
to be seen in the practice of art. One of the things that may 
be depended upon in Homer's work is the total absence of 
"chic" or "fake" passages. What he sets before us are the 
things he has seen and known. He never invented, — in the 
sense of conjuring up scenes and events. He deals wholly 
with realities, and is incapable of fiction. 

" Undertow" is owned by Mr. Edward D. Adams, of New 


York. Winslow Homer's younger brother, in allusion to its 
sinuous interlocked figures, calls it the "worms for bait 

Two watercolors dated 1887 belong to the Tynemouth 
series, and were completed and dated five years after the 
studies were made in England. These were the " Sea on the 
Bar" and "Danger" of the Thomas B. Clarke collection. 
"Sea on the Bar" is graphically described in the Clarke 
catalogue of 1899 : — 

"A breezy sky and sea, with surf piling up, and green 
water heavily moving. In the foreground is a sand-bar on 
which the water surges, and, in the distance, a bit of shore 
dark under a gray sky. A small sailboat labors stolidly, and 
the swirling clouds fly along, impelled by strong winds. A 
veritable bit of nature, realistically indicated." 

This watercolor was bought by Rev. W. S. Rainsford of 
New York, for one hundred and thirty-five dollars. The de- 
scription of the other one, " Danger," is not so good, failing 
in exactitude. It runs thus : — 

" Two fisherwomen trudge along the rocks, unmindful of 
the gale, to give warning of a ship, to the left, laboring heavily 
and obviously in trouble. Their faces are set in determination, 
and their skirts are blown by the terrific wind which piles up 
the sea against the shore. The sky is dark and fierce-looking, 
in effective contrast to the brilliancy of the white breakers, 
which dash furiously on the shore." 

According to my recollection, the vessel here alluded to 
is not a ship, but a sloop, which is simply trying hard to claw 
off a lee shore. The faces of the two women may be set in 
determination, but, as they are not turned our way, it is hard 
to say how the catalogue editor obtained this information. 

Charles Savage Homer, Jr., Winslow Homer's brother, 


loaned to the American Watercolor Society for its twentieth 
annual exhibition, in 1887, two beautiful southern landscapes, 
a "Sketch in Key West" and a "Sketch in Florida," which 
had been painted in 1886, on the way home from Cuba. The 
crispness of the treatment, the purity and transparency of 
the color, and the breadth and firmness of the drawing of the 
palms, palmettos, live oaks, hung with Spanish moss, and the 
other tropical vegetation, were truly characteristic of a master 

Arthur B. Homer, the younger brother, owned an old 
plumb-stemmed sloop that he and his two sons used to knock 
about in at Front's Neck. In the cabin were three wooden 
panels, two of them rather wide, on the sides, the third a 
short one set in the forward partition. Winslow Homer, 
noticing these vacant spaces, suggested that he would some 
day paint something to fill the panels. In 1886 he started the 
series of promised sketches. The two side panels were com- 
pleted. One of them represented a fleet of Gloucester fishing 
vessels; the other two schooners at anchor with their sails up 
against a sunset sky of lemon yellow, a very handsome effect. 
For the shorter panel forward he began to make a black-and- 
white oil study of a ship's of^cer in uniform taking a noon 
observation, his back turned towards the observer. His 
brother Arthur posed for this figure. When it was almost 
done, Winslow Homer suddenly stopped work on it, and, say- 
ing, " I am not going to do anything more on this panel. 
You can have it if you want it," he gathered up his brushes 
and rushed into the studio. An idea for a picture had sud- 
denly come to him. This, as the reader may have guessed 
already, is the genesis of that deep-sea classic, "Eight Bells." 

Somehow, though nobody can sa}'^ precisely how, " Eight 
Bells " fills the remotest corners of the mind with an over- 


From a wood engraving by Henry Wolf, after the oil 

painting by Winslow Homer in the collection of Mr. 

Edward T. Stotesbiiry, Philadelphia. Courtesy of the 

Century Company, New York 


whelming impression of the power and infinitude of the open 
sea. The action depicted is an ordinary if important part of 
the day's work, an everyday bit of routine on board ship. 
There is not the slightest occasion, nor is there the slightest 
endeavor, to make it appear any more interesting, dramatic, 
or heroic, than it really is; yet there is something about 
"Eight Bells" that grips the mind and the memory, and will 
not let go. Two bearded seamen are seen at two-thirds-length 
on the deck of a vessel. Both men wear sou' westers and heavy 
reefing jackets. The chief figure, probably that of the master 
of the craft, occupies the centre of the composition, and stands 
near the bulwarks, with his back turned towards the observer, 
while he holds up the sextant with both hands and gazes into 
the telescope, "shooting the sun," as it is colloquially ex- 
pressed by Jack Tar. His assistant, at the right, who is seen 
in profile, holding the chronometer, bends over it, very intent, 
to determine the longitude. One sees nothing of the vessel 
except the upper part of the bulwarks and a stanchion just 
behind the mate's back. The sea is seething, all weltering 
with white foam, and seems to have been under the lash of 
a hard gale, which is perhaps just blowing itself out, for the 
clouds are breaking, though they are still swirling in heaped- 
up masses of torn and driven vapors, cold and stern and wild. 
We may account for the effect the picture produces on 
the imagination of the observer in no other way than by 
realizing the strong influence of the association of ideas. 
Through this, even in the case of persons who have never 
been at sea, and whose conceptions of sea life are therefore 
entirely due to literature and pictures and hearsay, such a 
common and prosaic detail of the day's routine on board 
ship as taking the observations at noon to ascertain the posi- 
tion of the vessel is invested with a certain aura of mystery 


and wonder. And this is not at all surprising, for, to the 
least imaginative mind, the ability to ascertain precisely 
the latitude and longitude at which a given vessel is situated 
at a given moment, in the vast waste of waters, must be one 
of the perpetual marvels of science, an achievement worthy 
of admiration if not of awe. To the sublime thought of the 
mighty ocean and its thousands of square miles of never- 
resting billows, is, then, superadded the inspiring idea of the 
unconquerable ingenuity, tenacity, and bravery of mankind. 
Such associations of ideas are evoked by "Eight Bells," and 
when viewed with a full realization of the significance of the 
action depicted, it assumes that character of symbolic nobil- 
ity which lifts all Winslow Homer's best pictures of the life 
of the sailor to a plane of epic grandeur. 

"Eight Bells" was bought by Mr. Thomas B. Clarke, and 
in the sale of his collection in 1899 it brought forty-seven 
hundred dollars. It was bought by Mr. Hermann Schaus, the 
dealer, who in turn sold it to the present owner, Mr. E. T. 
Stotesbury of Philadelphia. 

The year 1887 was notable for the production of one of 
the most important of the painter's figure pieces, " Hark ! 
the Lark." This composition, measuring thirty by thirty-five 
inches, was regarded by Homer himself as the most impor- 
tant picture he had painted up to that time, and the very 
best one, as, he said, the figures in it were large enough to 
have some expression in their faces. It was a replica of the 
watercolor of 1883, painted from studies made in Tyne- 
mouth, and entitled " A Voice from the Cliffs." According 
to a letter written by Homer in March, 1902, to Messrs. M. 
O'Brien & Son, picture dealers, in Chicago, this was the 
only instance in thirty years in which he had made a replica 
of any of his works. He wrote : — 


March 20, 1902. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — You ask me if the picture " Lee Shore," 
recently sold in Providence, is a duplicate. It is not. Only 
once in the last thirty years have I made a duplicate, and 
that was a watercolor from my oil picture now owned by 
the Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee, called " Hark 1 the Lark." 

It is the most important picture I ever painted, and the 
ver}' best one, as the fignres are large enough to have some 
expression in their faces. The watercolor was called "A 
Voice from the Cliff," and well known. 

Why do you not try and sell the " Gulf Stream " to the 
Laj'ton Art Gallery, or some other public gallery ? No one 
would expect to have it in a private house. I will write you 
again next week. 

Yours truly, 

Winslow Homer. 
[Signed with a rubber stamp.] 


It is evident, however, that the watercolor, " A Voice from 
the Cliffs," belonging to Dr. Alexander C. Humphreys, was 
the original, and the oil painting, " Hark I the Lark," the 
replica, for the former was dated 1883, and the latter 1887. 
The oil painting was acquired by the Layton Art Gallery, 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about 1895, and was a gift from the 
founder of the gallery, Mr. Frederick Layton. It was among 
the pictures exhibited at the notable loan exhibition of 
Homer's works held at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 
in the spring of 1908. 



1888-1892. ^tat. 52-56 

The Series of Reproductions of his Own Paintings — " Cloud Shadows " 
— "The West Wind " — " Signal of Distress " — " Summer Night ' ' — 
" Huntsman and Dogs " ^ " Coast in Winter." 

IN a letter written in the spring of 1902, Homer spoke of 
the watercolors made by him during two winters in the 
West Indies as being, in his judgment, "as good work, 
with the exception of one or two etchings, as I ever did." 
The etchings of which he thus wrote were made in the eight- 
ies, and were reproductions of his own paintings. He made 
a series of six good-sized plates, in 1887, 1888, and 1889, after 
the following pictures and drawings: "Eight Bells," "Fly 
Fishing, Saranac Lake," "The Life Line," "Mending the 
Nets," "Perils of the Sea," and "Saved," this last being an 
alternative title for "Undertow." The etching after the 
"Perils of the Sea," one of the Tynemouth watercolors of 
1881, was made in 1887. The plate was thirteen and three 
quarters by twenty and one quarter inches in dimensions, 
and it was published by C. Klackner, the New York fine-art 
publisher, in two editions, one a remarque parchment, at 
thirty dollars, and the other on Japan paper at twenty dol- 
lars. In 1888 he etched " Saved "(" Undertow "), after the 
oil painting of the previous year, on a plate measuring sev- 
enteen by twenty-eight inches ; and this was published by 
Klackner in corresponding editions. "Eight Bells," which 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Thomas L. 

Manson, Jr., New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. George A . 

Hearn, New York 


was painted in 1888, was etched in 1889; the plate was 
eighteen and three quarters by twenty-four and three eighths 
inches. I have reason to beUeve that this etching was one of 
the "one or two "plates of which the artist thought so highly 
himself. The motive of "Eight Bells" is one that lends itself 
most admirably to translation into black-and-white, and the 
effect of light on the water and in the wind-swept masses of 
clouds, against which the two men's figures are projected in 
dark patterns, is largely and simply rendered in the etching. 
Of the remaining three etchings of the series, "The Life 
Line " is the mOst remarkable as a piece of free engraving, 
the agitated silhouette of the two figures suspended above 
the waves making a bold and novel mass as it relieves itself 
against the flying clouds of spray in the background. This 
plate is on a smaller scale than the others, being only twelve 
and one quarter by seventeen and one quarter inches in 
dimensions. Of the "Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake" (fourteen 
by twenty and one quarter inches), there was no parchment 
edition, the artist's proofs on Japan paper being offered to 
the public at fifteen dollars. "Mending the Nets," or, as it 
has been called, " Mending the Tears," measured fifteen and 
one half by twent}'-one and one half inches, and was copied 
from one of the Tynemouth subjects, awatercolor represent- 
ing two sitting figures of women, which was exhibited at the 
twenty-fourth exhibition of the American Watercolor Society, 
New York, in 1891. 

Mr. Klackner not only published the six etchings, but he 
issued in 1890 and 1891 photogravure plates after two of 
Homer's oil paintings, "Hark! the Lark," painted in 1887, 
and "The Signal of Distress," painted in 1891. Both of these 
reproductions were very successful, the subjects making a 
strong appeal to the public taste. The photogravures were 


of good size, the " Hark ! the Lark " measuring nineteen and 
three quarters by twenty-five and one half inches, and the 
"Signal of Distress" seventeen and one half b)' twenty-seven 
and one half inches. They were issued in one edition only, 
artist's proofs on India paper. 

As an illustration of what Homer believed to be the va- 
garies of the public taste, Mr. Chase ^ quotes the following 
passage from a letter dated Scarboro, Maine, May 14, 1888: 

" I have an idea for next winter, if what I am now engaged 
on is a success, and Mr. K. is agreeable. That is to exhibit 
an oil painting in a robbery-box with an etching from it in 
the end of your gallery, with a pretty girl at the desk to sell." 

Mr. Chase explains that to Homer the gaudy glamour 
of a plush-lined shadow-box and thick plate glass meant 
nothing else than robbery. He adds : " I think it could be 
truly said that no man was less moved than he by the pres- 
tige of high prices and the entrance to great collections, 
which are so often the 'successful' artist's chief stock-in- 
trade. His honest soul revolted at a success bought at such 
a cost." Homer once said to Mr. Chase that if he could be 
assured of a yearly income from his painting as large as the 
average salary of a department-store salesman he would be 
content. If he had any money in his purse he would never 
worry about where the next was coming from. 

I must quote a little further from Mr. Chase's interesting 
reminiscences : — 

" Homer was less influenced by others and by what others 
had done than any artist — any man, I may as well say — I 
have ever known. He was a rare visitor to public galleries 
and exhibitions. When there his attitude was that of a de- 

1 " Some Recollections of Winslow Homer," by J. Eastman Chase. Harp- 
er's Weekly, October 22, 1910. 


tached and unprejudiced observer. Names meant little or 
nothing to him. He looked at any picture for precisely what 
it might have to say to him — the name of the painter, whether 
great or small, was of equal indifference. He was not accus- 
tomed to speak of a ' Corot' or a 'Turner' ; it was the picture, 
pure and simple, that interested or did not interest him. His 
comment was, as you would suppose, fresh, original, pene- 
trating, and free from art jargon." 

Charles S. Homer read the foregoing paragraph aloud to 
me a few days after the publication of Mr. Chase's article, and 
remarked that it was very true. It makes an art critic feel 
rather cheap, however ; I can testify as to that. How little able 
we are to look at a picture for its intrinsic worth to us, regard- 
less of its authorship ! How we bow down to names ! And as 
to art jargon — imagine how refreshing it must have been to 
talk with a painter who had nothing of it ! 

The oil painting entitled " Cloud Shadows " was painted 
in 1890. This is a seashore subject with two figures. In the 
foreground is a sandy beach, with a wide expanse of poverty- 
grass just above the high-water mark. The line of the beach 
curves to the right, where it extends to a point, beyond which 
is deep blue water in the distance, with the sails of several 
pleasure boats. A deck, the only remaining portion of an old 
wreck which has been cast up on the shore, is partly visible 
in the immediate foreground, and on this sits a young woman, 
evidently a summer visitor, who is listening, with a smile, to 
the yarns of an old fisherman in a sou'wester, who is seated 
near her with his back turned towards the observer. The sky 
is almost filled by vaporous gray clouds, driven smartly before 
the wind, which, as they drift rapidly before the face of the 
sun, cast swiftly moving shadows over the creamy gray sands 
of the beach. Blue sky appears here and there in the inter- 


vals between the swirling masses of clouds. These clouds 
present every gradation of bluish and slaty gray as the light 
plays upon them. The treatment of this busy sky is most 
characteristic and subtle. Its beauty of color and of move- 
ment is of a high order. The observer feels that its aspect is 
changing even as he looks, and in few pictures is the effect 
of "open-and-shut" weather so strongly suggested. Though 
the relation of the figures to the landscape is not so important 
as it is in many of the artist's more dramatic works, it is suf- 
ficiently organic to make it clear that the composition would 
suffer by their absence. The pictorial balance and unity of 
the work is very perfect, and though the story-telling element 
is here only an incident in a landscape of great freshness and 
charm, yet it is an essential part of the scheme. This work 
belongs to the category of Homer's pictures in which the 
splendor and beauty of nature are undimmed by any sugges- 
tion of stress or struggle ; its atmosphere is exhilarating and 
genial ; and there is even a hint of the holiday mood. The pic- 
ture is owned by Mr. R. C. Hall, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

" Rowing Homeward," a watercolor, was also painted in 
1890. Under an evening sky, in which is seen a red sun, 
shining through the purple mist, some sailors are rowing a 
boat, while one man steers. The water reflects the pale green 
tints of the upper sky, and is quiet, save for a ripple here and 
there. The sentiment of evening is finely expressed, and 
broadly rendered. This watercolor was in the Thomas B. 
Clarke collection, and at the sale in 1899 it was bought by 
Charles L. Freer of Detroit, Michigan, for a friend. 

" Coast in Winter" and "Sunlight on the Coast," both be- 
longing to Mr. John G. Johnson of Philadelphia, were painted 
in 1890. The former is thus described in the catalogue of the 
New York memorial exhibition of 191 1 : — 


From a watercolor 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. R. C. 

Hall, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 


" A rough, rocky shore, partly covered with snow, through 
which the rocks show dark brown in places, with dried grass 
and weeds growing in the crevices. The cliff slopes down to 
the right in the middle distance ; beyond, green waves dash 
against the rocks, throwing high their mist against a gray 
sky. In the foreground stands the small figure of a man wear- 
ing a blue coat and carrying on his back a dead wild duck 
which he holds over his left shoulder ; under his right arm is 
a gun." 

Of "Sunlight on the Coast" the same catalogue gives this 
description : — 

" A hea\y green wave is breaking over the brown rocks 
in the lower left corner of the picture. Two masses of rock 
rise out of the foam, and at the extreme left spray is thrown 
up. Dull gray sea beyond, with a steamship on the horizon 
at the right. Gray sky and fog, through which the sunlight 
falls on the crest of the wave, the spray, and the foam in the 

The most important oil painting of 1891 is "The West 
Wind." This is a simple design of few and telling lines, in 
which the steady and powerful sweep of the off-shore wind 
is suggested with force and grandeur of style. The tawny 
foreground, sloping from left to right, is overgrown with sparse 
grasses and junipers, bending under the weight of the blast. 
At the right, the figure of a woman stands with her back 
turned, as she watches the surf, while she holds her tam-o'- 
shanter cap on her head with her right hand. The white spray 
is flung high as the breakers roll in, and beyond them the 
troubled surface of the waves recedes into the gray and leaden 
mystery of the horizon. The impressiveness of the work is 
due largely to the simple nobility of the design. The canvas, 
thirty-two by forty-six inches in dimensions, is almost equally 


divided into two masses, with the small figure as an accent ; 
but the spacing is absolutely calculated to give the desired 
pictorial impression, with the least amount of detail consist- 
ent with verisimilitude. Everything is condensed into the 
most succinct and significant form, and every stroke tells. 
The imagination is powerfully stirred through the appeal to 
associations. " The West Wind " was bought by Mr. Samuel 
Untermeyer of New York at the Clarke sale in 1899, for six- 
teen hundred and seventy-five dollars. 

"The Signal of Distress," "A Summer Night," and two 
Prout's Neck marine pieces were first exhibited at Reichard 
& Company's gallery in New York in the winter of 1891. 
Alfred Trumble, editor of "The Collector," an accomplished 
art critic, wrote of this group of works in his paper, February 
I, 1891, as follows: — 

" To say that Mr. Winslow Homer exhibits at Reichard & 
Company's galleries the four most complete and powerful 
pictures he has painted is to do them but half justice. They 
are in their way the four most powerful pictures that any man 
of our generation and people has painted. Nothing of the 
artist's previous work touches them, and, what is better still, 
they are suiBcient to indicate to any one who has followed 
the career of this original and rarely gifted man, that he has 
worked the problem of his art to a solution from which he 
will not retrograde. 

" Of the four canvases, one only comes within the limits 
of an actual composition, and it is in fact more of a dramatic 
bit of realism in itself. It is called ' The Signal of Distress.' 
It is morning at sea, after a night of winter and of tempest. 
The great tumbling seas are still agitated and pallid with 
wrath, in the livid storm light lingering in the sky. Out of 
the mist that hangs over the horizon, a full-rigged ship, with 


all sail set, as if flying for her life from a pursuing doom, 
flies her flag from the royal yard, union down. In the fore- 
ground is a strip of the deck of a steamer, dripping with 
washes of brine. The officer of the deck shouts a command. 
The watch come rushing to the life-boat, rude, strong figures, 
in their oilskins of the night. Two men clamber into the boat, 
which swings at its davits. One can see that in a moment 
more the falls will be cast off and the rescue be tossing in the 
foaming lee of the ship. The color of this picture, the wild 
sweep of wind and sea, the feeling of penetrating moisture, 
and of the titanic power of angry elements, — all go together 
in one magnificent harmony of conception and execution, 
and render it a veritable masterpiece. 

" Of less interest of mere subject, and much greater power 
of execution and massiveness of quality is the picture called 
• Moonlight.' ^ Across the foreground goes the platform of a 
seaside hotel, perched on a rocky bluff above the surf. On 
the platform two girls dance as partners, their figures lighted 
by the lamplight from the house. Below the platform, figures 
make a dim group on the rocks, watching the breakers. The 
sea rises to a high horizon, heaving in enormous swells, which 
burst in foam on the shore. On the rollers an unseen moon 
makes a great, scintillating pathway to the horizon, and the 
figures of the dancers are modeled against it. Far away to 
the right, on a low headland, the red light of a light-house 
spots the purple night like a star. To say that the water in 
this picture moves, is not all. It flashes into ripples under the 
eye, its great, resonant rumble and its crashing onset on the 
shore fill the ear. The painting of it is of a vast and splendid 
boldness, but ample in finish and of the greatest resolution 
of handling. 

1 "A Summer Night." 


"In 'A Marine on the Coast' a colossal breaker of the in- 
tense, translucent green that belongs to the sea on deep and 
rocky coasts is combing over to pound down upon the iron 
shore. Its flanks and hollows reflect flashes of light from the 
cold sky. . . . The fourth picture is also a Maine coast sub- 
ject. It is in winter. The steep and rocky shore descends 
from left to right, its stratified slope patched with ice and 
snow. Behind it the unseen surf breaks, whirling a billow- 
ing cloud of foam towards the steel-cold sky. To those who 
have ever been fascinated by the terrific reality of such a 
scene, this picture will come like the opening of a window 
in their memories. They will surely feel in it the piercing 
cold, and the tremor of the earth under the shock of the sea, 
and hear, through the long thunder of the surf rolling down 
the shore, like cannon on a line of battle, the bitter piping 
of the blast. 

"A great American artist in the full greatness of an art 
as truly American as its creator — what words could mean 
more ? " 

I have quoted from Mr. Trumble's criticism at some length, 
because it seems to me that no one could improve upon his 
spirited description of the four pictures in question. " The 
Signal of Distress " is one of Homer's best illustrative paint- 
ings of sea life. Like his other pictures of that life, it does 
not attempt to tell too much, but leaves something to the 
imagination. It deals with a situation which is of almost 
daily occurrence, yet which never loses the power to thrill us 
by its possibilities of tragedy and of heroism. It gives but a 
glimpse of one momentary aspect of the story ; all the rest 
is implied. As Mr. Trumble's words show — "in a moment 
more the falls will be cast off and the rescue be tossing in 
the foaming lee of the ship " — one cannot look upon the 


From the oil painting in the collectiofi of Mr. Morris J. 

Hi r sell, New York 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. John G. 

Johnson, Philadelphia 


picture without prefiguring in the mind's eye all that is go- 
ing to happen. The artist has chosen well the moment to 
put before our eyes ; and he has limited wisely the visual 
field. It may be said, without invidious comparisons, that 
he escapes the pitfalls that so often beset painters of moving 
accidents by flood and field, through his understanding and 
use of the artistic principle of suggestion. " The Signal of 
Distress " is more than an illustration ; it may stand for a 
symbol of the helping hand of the larger freemasonry of the 
open sea, where the desperate need of all fellow-creatures in 
emergencies is the imperative call to prompt and willing 
and instant aid. Finally, the picture is one of those charac- 
teristically fine compositions which have the air of inevita- 
bility, of almost startling familiarity, as of a scene that one 
has witnessed in a dream. 

" The Signal of Distress " was exhibited in the sixth exhi- 
bition of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters, and 
Gravers, at the New Gallery, Regent Street, London, in the 
winter of 1906. An American sent a communication to the 
" Pall Mall Gazette," protesting indignantly against the ac- 
tion of the hanging committee in giving the work a very 
poor place. Thereupon the authorities of the International 
Society vouchsafed an amusing semi-official explanation to 
the effect that the committee had intentionally placed the 
picture in a comparatively obscure location because they 
considered it to be one of his inferior works. 

As for "A Summer Night," the description written by Mr. 
Trumble is preferable to my own longer one, which, I fear, 
sounds too much like an attempt at fine writing ; yet, after this 
preamble, I am inclined to give the substance of it, quand 
m&77ie, because it supplements Mr. Trumble's sketchy outlines 
by a little more of the color and emotion of the work : — 


" The ocean, at night, seen from the brow of a high cliff ; 
a broad and glittering field of moonlight reflected on the 
tossing waters ; the shadowed curve of a mighty wave about 
to fall and break upon the rocks ; on the brink of the cliff, 
the sombre silhouette of a group of people watching the 
surf ; and in the foreground two stalwart girls waltzing in 
the moonlight. The blue, purple, slate, and silver-gray hues 
of the night form a bold, rich, and novel harmony in a minor 
key, an effect of splendid and moving majesty. The move- 
ment of the waves is indicated by the broadest methods 
known to the painter's art ; that is to say, by the masterly 
suggestion and summary characterization of the forms mo- 
mentarily assumed by the most mobile of elements, the play 
of light upon those forms, and all the accidents and whims 
of what seems like the chaotic acme of instability. Under 
the phantasmal light of the moon, the titanic lift of the dark 
billow which comes impending to its crashing fall, the fan- 
tastic shape of its crest uplifted against the lighted expanse 
of glimmering blue and molten silver behind it, and the 
swirling hollow weltering in its front, are full of the expres- 
sion of power, grandeur, and mystery. The group of figures 
is a well composed, flat, dark mass against the illuminated 
sea ; and in it is to be noted the rhythmic effect of a repe- 
tition of slightly varied lines." ^ 

The genesis of " A Summer Night " is easily divined. It 
is a virtually literal transcript of a scene which Homer saw 
in front of his own studio at Front's Neck. The platform is 
the only part of the composition which did not exist in the 
real scene. The girls were dancing on the lawn. As usual, 
the artist painted exactly what he saw. The group silhouetted 

1 Twelve Great Artists, by William Howe Downes, Boston: Little, Brown & 
Company, 1900, pp. 118, 119, 120. 


at the right, on the rocks, was composed of a number of 
young people belonging to the summer colony, and included 
several of the Homers. This picture was exhibited at the 
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, in the spring of 1899. For 
several years it was loaned to the Cumberland Club of Port- 
land, Maine, where it was excellently placed. It is now in the 
Luxembourg Gallery, Paris. 

" The Return from the Hunt" (or " Huntsman and Dogs") 
is an oil painting which was finished in 1891, from an Adi- 
rondacks motive. It was first exhibited in New York in De- 
cember, 1 89 1. Extremely uncompromising in its naturalism, 
it did not please the critics, who thought it too cold and un- 
sympathetic. " Every tender quality of nature seems to be 
frozen out of it," wrote Alfred Trumble in "The Collector," 
"as if it were painted on a bitter cold day, in crystallized 
metallic colors on a chilled steel panel. The type of the 
hunter who carries the pelt of the deer over his shoulder, and 
its front and antlers in his hand, is low and brutal in the 
extreme. He is just the sort of scoundrel, this fellow, who 
hounds deer to death up in the Adirondacks for the couple 
of dollars the hide and horns bring in, and leaves the carcass 
to feed the carrion birds. The best thing in the picture is the 
true doggishness of the hounds. One does n't expect hounds 
to have any instinct above slaughter. Throughout, however, 
the picture — albeit well composed and firmly drawn — is a 
cold and unsympathetic work, entirely unworthy of the artist, 
unless he had made it as the original for a newspaper illus- 
tration." The picture was in the Boston Memorial Exhibition 
of 191 1. It belonged to Mr. Edward Hooper, from whose es- 
tate it passed into the possession of his daughter, Mrs. Ban- 
eel La Farge. 

"Mending Nets" and " On the Cliffs," two watercolors, are 


of the same year, 1891. The former was exhibited at the 
twenty-fourth exhibition of the American Watercolor Society, 
New York. It was painted from a study made in Tynemouth, 
and shows two seated figures of fishwives. "On the Cliffs" 
depicts children at play on a blufi overlooking the sea ; they 
are plucking flowers or standing to look at the ocean beyond 
them. This watercolor was acquired by Mr. Thomas L. Man- 
son, Jr., New York, who bought it for two hundred and 
twenty-five dollars at the Clarke sale in 1899. 

Mr. Manson also bought at the same time another water- 
color entitled "Canoeing in the Adirondacks," for which he 
paid one hundred and seventy-five dollars. This was painted 
in 1892. The description of it in the Clarke catalogue runs 
as follows : — 

"Two hunters are seated in a canoe, paddling quietly 
along in the deep shadow made by the wooded shore. The 
man in the stern, in a red shirt which makes a fine color note, 
is looking backward, and a trail of whitened water is left 
behind. Some pines are outlined against the sky, which is 
of brilliant whitish gray. The tones are rich, and recall with 
vivid realism the dense woodland fastnesses of the wilder- 

In the two models for the men in the canoe are to be 
recognized, probably, the same Keene Valley characters 
alluded to by Mr. Shurtlefl, "Old Mountain PhiHps" and 
the "young man noted for his size and his red shirt," who 
served as models for the figures in "The Two Guides" of 

Another oil painting, with the title of " Coast in Winter," 
painted in 1892, is one of the first of the midwinter pictures 
of the surf at Front's Neck. The rocks in the foreground 
are partly covered by snow. The sea is very rough, and the 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Samuel 
Untermyer, New York 


#11 : 


j^^^^^^^^^^^^^B^ 221^8^1 


^ 1 

1 9 

P 1 

•& ^^^^^^^^Hj 




spray is flying high in the air. The desolate character of the 
effect, the aspect of the gray sky frowning upon the per- 
turbed ocean, and the sense of chill and of solitude, are well- 
nigh oppressive. This canvas, thirty by forty-eight inches in 
dimensions, was bought by Mr. Clarke, and at the sale of his 
collection, 1899, it passed into the possession of Mr. C. J. 
Blair, of Chicago, Illinois, who paid twenty-six hundred and 
twenty-iive dollars for it. 

"Hound and Hunter" also bears the date of 1892. In the 
centre of this composition is a boat in the stern of which a 
hunter lies at full length, grasping with his right hand the 
antlers of a deer that is in the water. In the foreground, at 
the left, a hound is swimming towards the boat. A shore 
with dense autumn foliage forms the background. This work 
has been exhibited frequently, having been shown in Chi- 
cago, New York, Pittsburgh, and Boston. It measures twen- 
ty-eight inches high by forty-seven and one half inches wide. 
It belongs to Mr. Louis Ettlinger. In a letter from the artist 
to Mr. T. B. Clarke, dated October 25, 1892, he speaks of 
" Hound and Hunter " as his only new oil painting. " I can- 
not say now what my plans are for the winter," he writes, 
"but I think I shall show in Boston my only new oil color 
with ten or so watercolors (all Adirondacks), the oil to go to 
Chicago, and the lot to go to New York after being shown 
at 2 Park street. I have painted very few things this sum- 
mer, for the reason that good things are scarce and I cannot 
put out anything [which is] in my opinion bad. ... I think 
I owe it to you to give you more particulars about this oil 
picture. I have had it on hand over two seasons, and now it 
promises to be very fine. It is a figure piece pure and simple, 
and a figure piece well carried out is not a common affair. 
It is called ' Hound and Hunter.' [Pen and ink sketch here.] 


A man, deer, and dog on the water. My plan is to copyright 
it, have Harper publish it in the ' Weekly ' to make it known, 
have Klackner publish it as a print, and then exhibit it for 
sale, first in Boston (at $2000), with my watercolors." This 
plan was carried out only in part. 



1 893-1 894. ^tat. 57-58 

Honors at the World's Columbian Exposition — "The Fox Hunt" — 
" Stonn-Beaten " — " Below Zero " — •' High Cliff, Coast of Maine " — 
" Moonlight, Wood Island Light " — Adirondacks Watercolors. 

AT the World's Columbian Exposition, at Chicago, in 
1893, fifteen of Homer's oil paintings were exhibited. 
The list in the official catalogue was as follows : — 
Dressing for the Carnival. 
A Great Gale. 
Camp Fire. 
Eight Bells. 
March Wind. 
Coast in Winter. 
The Two Guides. 
(The above seven paintings were lent by Thomas B. Clarke, 
New York.) 

Sailors Take Warning (Sunset.) 
Hound and Hunter. 
Lost on the Grand Banks. 
The Fog Warning. 
Herring Fishing. 

Coast in Winter. (Lent by J. G. Johnson, Philadelphia.) 
Sunlight on the Coast. (Lent by J. G. Johnson, Phila- 
Return from the Hunt. (Lent by Reichard & Co., New 


The painter visited the exposition, and while there painted 
a monochrome picture in oil of the famous fountain by Mac- 
monnies under the electric light. The work shows the pair of 
sea-horses and their driver with the water playing about and 
over them. In the band of light that falls on the basin in the 
foreground there is a gondola with two gondoliers rowing 
and two women passengers. This interesting souvenir of 
the memorable Court of Honor is owned by Mr. Charles S. 
Homer, and was first exhibited to the public at the New York 
memorial exhibition of 191 1. 

A gold medal was conferred on the artist for the picture 
called " The Gale" (or " A Great Gale "). Singularly enough, 
this was one of the first honors of the kind to be given him. 
He had now arrived at the age of fifty-seven. He was in the 
maturity of his powers. We shall see him, from this period 
to the end, receiving in swift succession every token of the 
highest appreciation, every testimony of popular favor, and 
all the honors that can be bestowed on a successful painter ; 
but we shall never see him in the least degree intoxicated by 
his triumph, vain of his victories, or deviating by so much 
as a hair from the course already marked out. He was not 
ungrateful, but he was sagacious enough to esteem these 
honors at their true value. One evening, at Front's Neck, 
when he had just received news of some great distinction that 
had been conferred upon him, he happened to be at the 
Checkley House, and, somewhat to his inarticulate disgust, 
he was being warmly congratulated by a group of ladies, 
who were rather fulsome in their expressions of pleasure, but 
he turned it all off by saying to the company, his elder 
brother being present, " You must remember that my brother 
here is quite as distinguished in his line of work as I am 
in mine." 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Edward T. 

Stotesbury, Philadelphia 


He realized that there are other things in the world besides 
art. He respected and honored men who accomplished valu- 
able work in science, literature, commerce, invention. Mr. 
Baker said of him : " I do not think that painting was any- 
thing more to him than anything else. He did not care whether 
he painted or not." This seems as astonishing as it is un- 
usual ; and one is at first inclined to be a little skeptical ; but 
that there is truth in it is proved by the artist's own letters 
late in life, which I shall have occasion to quote in their 
proper place further on. Even as early as 1893, when he was 
replying to a Chicago picture dealer's invitation to hold an 
exhibition of his works in that city, he was in the mood to 
say, "At present ... I see no reason why I should paint 
any pictures." This is the letter. 

ScARBORO, Me., Oct. 23, 1893. 
Messrs. O'Brien & Sons, 

Gentle:\ien, — I am in receipt of your letter of October 
the 8th inviting me to have an exhibition at your Galleries. 
In reply I would say that I am extremely obliged to you for 
your offer, and if I have anything in the picture line again I 
will remember you. 

At present and for some time past I see no reason why I 
should paint any pictures. 

Yours respectfully, 

WiNSLOW Homer. 

P. S. I will paint for money at any time. Any subject, 
any size. W. H. 

As he gave no reason to explain his feeling on this subject, 
we are left to conjecture. It could not have been owing to 
any real or fancied lack of appreciation and patronage on 


the part of the public or of picture-buyers. Nor was it because 
of any hostile criticism, for at that time there was not any- 
thing of this nature to disturb him, even were he affected by 
such things. For the last seventeen or eighteen years of his 
life we shall, from time to time, find him declaring that he 
would paint no more, but he never gave any explanation 
of this attitude, and as a matter of fact he did not lay down 
his brush and palette for good until the last year of his 

The important picture of the year 1893 was "The Fox 
Hunt." It has been variously known as the "Fox and Crows" 
and "Winter." The subject of this work is very novel, and 
requires a word of explanation as to the fact in natural his- 
tory of which it is a dramatic illustration. In the depths of 
winter, when for long intervals the ground is covered with 
snow in Maine, it has been observed that a flock of half- 
starved crows will occasionally have the temerity to attack 
a fox, relying on their advantage of numbers, the weakened 
condition of the fox, and the deep snow, which makes it 
peculiarly difficult for the victim either to defend himself or 
to escape. This, then, is the curious occurrence that Homer 
took for the subject of his picture, which is as original and 
forcible as the rest of his productions. In the snow which 
covers the foreground, near the shore, a weary and harassed 
fox is running painfully along, in his vain effort to find a 
refuge from his approaching foes. Two savage crows already 
hover nearly over him, ready to strike, and the rest of the 
hungry flock is seen coming rapidly to the spot from the 
direction of the shore. The canvas is large enough to permit 
the representation of a life-size fox, and the reddish color of 
his coat and brush in the midst of the expanse of white 
makes an interesting point in the color scheme. The ocean 


is visible in the distance, and overhead is a dark gray win- 
try sky, in which there are only two small rifts, allowing a 
cold silvery light to fall on the water near the left side of the 
picture. The green surf breaks on the rocks and throws up 
a cloud of spray. There is something uncommonly impres- 
sive and solemn about this stern and frigid landscape, and 
it seems a fit theatre for the impending catastrophe. The 
painting of the drifted snow in the foreground is exceed- 
ingly interesting in the delicate gradations of the values on 
the undulating surface, in the delicacy of its color, which is 
apparently very simple, yet is full of variety. The sky also 
is one that perhaps no other painter except Homer would 
have the courage to oppose to such a foreground, or, rather, 
that few other painters would be able to put in its right 

Mr. Fowler cites this picture as an example of the fine 
sense of quantities in space that characterizes so markedly 
much of Homer's best work. "The disposition of the force- 
ful spots in this rectangle is most happy," he writes. " The 
strong and daring mass of black offered by the crows in the 
upper right-hand comer, suggesting an even greater volume 
to the mass by the partly disappearing wings and the ap- 
proaching numbers of crows — this black, modified and 
broken by the reflected light on the feathers and the surface 
light on the beaks, is further distributed by the accents of 
dark carried to the ears and left forepaw of the fox with 
fine judgment and effect. So much for the strong and or- 
ganic notes of the picture. Nothing could show better con- 
trol of these forcible accents than the manner in which the 
artist has chosen to place them on the canvas and then given 
them cohesion by silhouetting these telling spots of black 
against a darkened sky, and placing the lighter tonal value 


of the fox against the snow. The space in front of the fox 
suggests much distance for his apprehensive flight — the 
very direction of his head and ears unites these two active 
quantities of the scene." i 

This is one of Homer's largest canvases, measuring thirty- 
eight by sixty-eight inches. It was bought by the Temple 
fund in 1894 for the permanent collection of the Pennsyl- 
vania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. 

We come now to the year 1894, ^ year of marked activ- 
ity and fertility in Homer's life, the date of four of his 
great paintings of the sea : " Storm-Beaten," " Below Zero," 
" High Cliff, Coast of Maine," and " Moonlight, Wood 
Island Light." For the first-named picture he found the sub- 
ject ready to his hand on a point of rocks at Front's Neck, 
just after a prolonged easterly gale, when the Atlantic was 
in its most spectacular mood. Never had he given such a 
free rein to his brush in the broad, emphatic, confident de- 
scription of the ponderous and magnificent onset of the bil- 
lows along that exposed, rock-bound shore of Maine. The 
overwhelming force of the great waves, falling with their 
full weight on the ledges, churning in foam, uptossing foun- 
tains of silvery spray, crashing and thundering, in a riotous 
tumult and confusion, seems almost to threaten the founda- 
tions of the land. To describe it in words would require a 
genius equal to that of the painter himself. One cannot 
stand before a picture like " Storm-Beaten " without being 
mentally stimulated and exalted : such is the potency of a 
personal imagination working with natural fact for its sole 
material. It is, to use Mr. Berenson's happy phrase, " life- 
enhancing." Reality is made more real ; we are more acutely 

I Scrihner' s Magazine, May, 1903, "An Exponent of Design in Painting," 
by Frank Fowler. 

From the oil painting in the Luxembourg Museum, Paris 


alive when brought into its presence. Our horizons expand. 
The immensity and youthfulness of our continent are brought 
home to our consciousness. We are uplifted ; we feel the 
glory of life ; we take deeper breaths ; we are newly heart- 
ened for our work in this best of all worlds. 

"Storm-Beaten" was exhibited at Doll & Richards' s gal- 
lery, Boston, in 1S94, and at the fifty-fifth exhibition of the 
Boston Art Club in 1896-1897. It was bought by Mr. Wil- 
liam T. Evans of New York, and in 1896 it was awarded the 
gold medal of honor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the 
Fine Arts, Philadelphia. At the sale of Mr. Evans's private 
collection, at Chickering Hall, New York, January 3 1 to Feb- 
ruary 2, 1900, it was sold to Mr. Emerson McMillin of New 
York, for four thousand dollars. He resold it in 191 1 to M. 
Knoedler & Company for ten thousand dollars, and they in 
turn disposed of it to Mr. F. S. Smithers, the present owner. 
The alternative title of this work is " Weather-Beaten." The 
canvas is signed at the right, dated 1894, and measures twen- 
ty-eight by forty-eight inches. 

"Below Zero" presents a truly Arctic scene on the coast 
in the depths of winter. The ground is snow-covered. The 
ocean sends up litde breaths of steam, a common phenome- 
non during a cold wave, due to the difference in temperature 
between the air and the water. On the beach stand two men, 
dressed in fur costumes like those worn by the Eskimos. 
They hold snow-shoes in their hands, and they are peering 
into the mist which hangs over the water. All about reigns 
that strange impression of silence, of calm, of void, created 
by an intensely cold day. It is a picture to make the specta- 
tor shiver. The size of the canvas is twenty-eight by twenty- 
four inches. The former owner of this picture, Mr. F. P. 
Moore, resold it in 19 11 to M. Knoedler & Company. It was 


loaned to the exhibition of American paintings held at the 
Art Institute of Chicago in 1910. 

The mingling of reality and mystery, of rude strength and 
atmospheric delicacy, in "High Cliff, Coast of Maine," is 
unique in this field of painting. There is nothing more won- 
derful in the achievements of the artist than the ease and 
certainty with which he has rendered this simple effect of 
organic strength overlaid by an unspeakable charm of at- 
mosphere and ennobled by the incessant ordered movement, 
the rhythm of wave and tide, ebb and flow, the poetic ex- 
pression of the eternal cycle of life in the world of nature. 
Nor is there anything more perfect in all his ceuvre, so far 
as the complete avoidance of commonplace is concerned, in 
all this direct, simple, virile setting forth of the truth of every- 
day phenomena. The artist has effaced himself. He is wholly 
absorbed in his subject. Against this massive and impreg- 
nable bastion of flint and granite the huge waves dash them- 
selves to atoms. We look up to the three diminutive human 
figures yonder on the summit of the cliff, and instinctively 
take the measure of the immense scale of the rocky structure, 
with its successive buttresses, based upon unseen foundations 
laid ages ago beneath our feet and still resisting the encroach- 
ments of the ocean, — worn and seamed, telling the story 
of the long centuries of conflicting forces. One might almost 
call this work the portrait of the high cliff, a personifica- 
tion of passive and stubborn resistance, stonily confronting 
the passion of the Atlantic with its inscrutable ancient face, 
scarred and furrowed by time and tempest. 

This work, together with Homer's " Visit from the Old 
Mistress," was bought by Mr. William T. Evans, and given 
to the National Gallery of Art, Washington. It is on canvas 
thirty by thirty-seven and one half inches in dimensions, and 


is signed and dated 1894. It was one of the pictures exhib- 
ited in the loan exhibition of Homer's works held by the 
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, in the spring of 1908. 

The elusive beauty of moonlight on the ocean is the mo- 
tive and inspiration of "Moonlight, Wood Island Light," as 
it had been of " A Summer Night." In the former there are 
no figures. No one who has lived by the seashore can have 
failed to treasure the memories of those perfect summer 
nights when the moon sends its beams athwart the wide field 
of the moving waters in a path of molten silver ; and the 
fascination of watching this glorious spectacle never lost its 
power over our artist. One night in the summer of 1894, he 
was sitting on a bench, smoking, with his nephew, in front 
of the studio. It was a beautiful evening, with quite a sea 
running, but not much wind. Of a sudden, Winslow Homer 
rose from his seat, and said : " I 've got an idea 1 Good night, 
Arthur!" He almost ran into the studio, seized his painting 
outfit, emerged from the house, and clambered down over 
the rocks towards the shore. He worked there uninterrupt- 
edly until one o'clock in the morning. The picture called 
"Moonlight, Wood Island Light," was the result of that im- 
pulse and four or five hours' work. Like his other moonlight 
pictures, it was painted wholly in and by the light of the 
moon, and never again retouched. The very essence of 
moonlight is in it. Close to the rocks the foaming water 
gives back the fullest, brightest reflections, in a whimsical 
pattern of shining silver. Beyond the reefs the illuminated 
track recedes in diminishing brightness clear to the horizon. 
In the distance, at the right, a long, low cape, in the south, 
extends into the ocean, from Biddeford Pool, and near the 
tip of this point is visible the light which gives the picture its 
name. The moon is not shown, but a gray ring indicates its 


position in the sky. The painting was bought by Mr. Thomas 
B. Clarke, and at the sale of his collection in 1S99 it ^'as 
purchased by Boussod, Valadon & Company, for thirty-six 
hundred and fifty dollars. It is now in the collection of Mr. 
George A. Hearn. The canvas measures thirty by forty 

In 1894 Doll & Richards of Boston exhibited a group of 
Homer's watercolors depicting subjects taken at Front's Neck 
and in the Adirondacks. One of the Adirondacks compo- 
sitions represented a gigantic tree, by the stately trunk of 
which stood a gray-bearded guide or woodsman, looking 
lovingly, almost reverently, up to the monster, as a man who 
understands and appreciates and converses with trees, and 
who has lived among them all his life. Another Adirondacks 
drawing described powerfully a perfecdy smooth lake, where 
an old man was fishing from a boat, and the dark reflections 
of the surrounding woods and mountains slumbered deep in 
the bosom of the still waters, so that the boat and the fisher- 
man almost seemed to be suspended in mid-air. Still an- 
other Adirondacks drawing simply showed the solitary figure 
of a rugged woodsman on the deforested summit of a moun- 
tain, his gaunt frame outlined against a sky full of wildly 
scudding clouds. In another drawing still we were shown a 
dark, swift, shadowy mountain stream, rushing down over 
the rocks, in rapids which were broken into strangely beau- 
tiful hues, — amber, brown, green, and golden, — and which 
took on the most fantastic forms, now gliding, now upheaved, 
now eddying, swirling, beckoning, sinking, under the banks 
crowded thick with tall forest trees. 

The oil painting called by the artist "The Girl in a Fog," 
and more commonly known as "The Fisher Girl," was painted 
in 1894. In August, 1904, Homer wrote to the owner of the 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Louis 

Eltlinger, New York 


picture, Mr. Burton Mansfield, of New Haven, Connecticut, 
that it was painted about 1894, and "was a most careful 
study, direct from nature, of the best single figure that I 
remember having painted." He added that the picture in- 
terested him very much. In the letter he drew foe Mr. Mans- 
field a pen-and-ink sketch of the picture. It shows the full- 
length of a woman standing half-way up a rocky bank. Her 
head is in profile and her right hand is raised to shield her 
eyes as she looks toward the sea at the left. A net with cork 
floats hangs over her left shoulder, and is held by her left 
hand. Through the fog which hangs over the scene there is 
a glimpse of rough waves. 



I 895-1 896. ^tat. 59-60 

" Northeaster " — " Cannon Rock ' ' — The First Journey to the Province 
of Quebec — " The Lookout — All 's Well ! " — " Maine Coast " — " The 
Wreck " — " Watching the Breakers " — Honors at Pittsburgh and Phila- 
delphia — " Hauling in Anchor " — Mr. Turner's Reminiscences of Homer. 

FOR the purpose of painting the sea in cold or stormy- 
weather, Homer had a little portable painting-house 
built, and this was set on runners, so that it could be 
moved to any point where he desired to work. This little 
building was about eight by ten feet in ground dimensions, 
with a door on one side and a large plate-glass window on 
the other side. In a northeaster, when it would be impos- 
sible to manage a canvas of any considerable size out-of- 
doors, and when exposure would be disagreeable and un- 
comfortable, he would have the painting-house moved down 
on the rocks of Eastern Point, and, installing himself in this 
snug shelter, with his materials, he could place himself in the 
position that commanded his subject, and work as long as 
the light and other conditions were favorable. Shut up in 
this convenient shanty, he was secure from intrusion, too, 
and no inquisitive rambler along the shore could look over 
his shoulder to see what he was painting. He could never 
quite reconcile himself to the annoyance of having people 
prying at his canvas and watching his motions while he was 
painting in the open air. 

Still another advantage arising from the use of the paint- 


ing-house was the ability to get down to a level which allowed 
the painter to occupy a point of view somewhat lower than 
would have been at times consistent with safety to his life 
and limb. This applies particularly to Eastern Point, which 
is very much exposed, and in heavy weather is swept by 
flying spray. As one stands on the rocks, even in pleasant 
weather, when an off-shore wind prevails, the crests of the 
breakers frequendy seem to rise higher than the observer's 
head, and to be of a rather threatening character. Here sev- 
eral of Homer's most famous marine pieces were painted. 

" Northeaster" and " Cannon Rock" were painted in 1895, 
The former is one of the most impressive of its author's surf 
subjects, and by some persons is considered the best of all, 
but it is not equal to "The Maine Coast" and "On a Lee 
Shore," which have no rivals. Still, "Northeaster" is not 
only a great piece of work, it is also one of the most exciting 
of his marines, the weight and movement of the oncoming 
billow giving the impression of an irresistible and over- 
whelming force. It will be noted that the point of view here 
is ver}' low, bringing the horizon high in the composition, 
and giving the onlooker the sense of being below the level 
of the wave-crest impending to its fall. We are near enough 
to make out all the shifting and seething patterns of the foam 
which play upon the immense breast of the coming wave and 
form an intricate momentary and exquisite diaper-work of 
milk-white tracery against the blues and greens beneath. 
The dark edges of the ledge at the left, and the spouting 
column of spray beyond it close in this simple and beautiful 
design. "Northeaster" belongs to the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art, New York, to which it was given by Mr. George A. 
Heam, in 1910. 

In an article on the paintings by American artists given 


by George A. Hearn to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
New York, W. Stanton Howard, in the " Bulletin of the Mu- 
seum," March, 1906, gives an excellent description of the 
composition, and adds : " The picture is one of the move- 
ments of the great Ocean Symphony which Homer has 
given us in a dozen canvases, ever striving to set forth its 
might, majesty, and infinity as he knows it. The mobility, 
color, and force of the vast miles of water stir the imagina- 
tion and carry the mind back to other impressions of the 
beauty and power of the sea and awaken the emotions. 
There is an endless field for speculatio'n in the subtle agree- 
ment between color and mood, between subject and emo- 
tion, between the subjective consciousness and the objective 
impression, which need not be touched upon here." 

" Cannon Rock " is taken from a higher view-point, and 
the spectator feels safer in looking at it. I have spoken of 
the beauty of the cliff walk at Prout's Neck, and of the in- 
terest of the frequent recognition of Homer's subjects to be 
obtained by the stroller there. Cannon Rock is one of the 
most easily recognizable landmarks. Looking down from 
the cliff walk, one sees just the outlines of dark rock against 
the lighter values of the water that are shown in the picture. 
Nothing is changed, except that, as a matter of course, the 
angle of the sunlight on the scene may be different at each 
given hour of the day. At the right of the foreground one 
notices the odd outlines of a projecting rock or segment of 
rock which bears a semblance of the breech of a cannon. As 
I stopped to look, I heard a dull, muffled boom, apparently 
coming from the unseen base of the cliff. This, it was ex- 
plained, is the report of the cannon. Perhaps it is a little 
far-fetched. Such ideas are apt to be so. In the middle dis- 
tance, I saw a wave break repeatedly, as is shown in the 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mrs. Bancel 

La Farge 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. C. J. 

Blair, Chicago 


painting. That is caused by a sunken reef some little way 
from the shore. I do not think the arrangement of lines and 
masses in " Cannon Rock " is so impressive and satisfactory 
as in most of the artist's off-shore marine pieces. The effect 
of light on the water is given with all his customary success. 
Kenyon Cox, in a recent paper/ alludes to this work as fol- 
lows : — 

" The moment chosen here is that of the recoil of the 
broken wave, and if it does not give quite the overwhelm- 
ing sense of weight that Homer can convey as no other 
painter has done in his pictures of breaking waves, there 
is yet a vast and dangerous bulk in the sullenly gathering 
water and great truth of obser\'ation in the steady, sweeping 
onset of the second wave, which will be thundering about us 
in another moment." 

"Cannon Rock" is one of the several examples of Homer's 
work belonging to the permanent collection of the Metro- 
politan Museum of Art. 

" Storm-Beaten," " Northeaster," and " Moonlight, Wood 
Island Light," were exhibited at the sixty-fifth exhibition of 
the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 
in 1895. 

The summer of 1895 saw the Homer brothers, Charles 
and Winslow, "hitting the trail" through the Canadian wil- 
derness, on their way to the log cabin of the Tourilli Club, 
in the Province of Quebec, far from the haunts of men. In 
this remote and lonely spot they had happy days, hunting, 
fishing, and sketching. They explored the streams, lakes, 
mountains, and forests of this untamed country, visited the 
camp of the Montagnau Indians, and experienced the joys 
of the discoverer and frontiersman. Winslow always carried 

' Burlington Magazine, London, vol. xii, p. 123. 


his watercolor box with him in these expeditions, and on this 
first jaunt to the wilds of the Province of Quebec he made a 
wonderful series of rapidly wrought drawings, ten of which 
he sent to a watercolor exhibition held by the Saint Botolph 
Club in Boston, in October and November of that year. 
Of these ten drawings, four were in black-and-white wash, 
slightly warmed with brown tones. The absolutely primitive 
wildness of the region, which leaves nothing to be desired 
in that respect, is pungendy set forth in this series. The 
breadth and luminosity of some of these Canadian sketches 
has never been surpassed. There is splendid movement and 
depth and life in the skies ; the key is forced to a remark- 
able height of illumination ; on a cold principle of coloring, 
the high lights are the untouched pure white of the paper ; 
yet every value is held precisely where it belongs ; and in 
consequence I think it may be fairly said that in the best 
drawings of this period the expression of sunlight is un- 
equaled by the most brilliant works of the French impres- 
sionist landscape school. 

The two scenes in the Montagnau Indian camp were par- 
ticularly interesting and sonorous in color. They afforded a 
vivid glimpse of the everyday life of the aborigine chez liii, 
as he and his squaw carry on the cooking, the building of the 
birch-bark canoe, and all the details of their crude house- 
keeping. But the vital and memorable thing was the bright, 
dazzling, cool flood of northern sunlight in which the objects 
were bathed and enveloped. Another of the sketches showed 
the mischievous glee gleaming in the small and bead-like 
eyes of the impish black bear who was amusing himself 
by clawing the club canoe to tatters. In the drawing of the 
"Approach to the Rapids" the river smoothly and swiftly 
bore the canoe towards the white waters swirling and foam- 


ing and galloping in the shadows of the dense, dark forest. 
Sweet was the repose of the tired man in the sketch of "The 
Guide," who had thrown himself down for a moment's well- 
earned rest upon the rocks by the deep mountain lake. Sav- 
age were the lines of gnarled roots and weather-beaten trees 
and gray rocks which spoke of solitude and desolation by 
the side of Lake St. John's. The remaining four drawings in 
monochrome were of "Lake Tourilli," "Cape Diamond" on 
the Saguenay River, and " The Province of Quebec," with a 
sketch taken from St. John's Gate in Quebec. 

The Homer brothers were delighted with the camp of the 
Tourilli Club, and returned there more than once. It is many 
miles from the nearest human habitation, and the route taken 
in going to it is a blazed trail through the trackless forest. 
A "tenderfoot" who started for the camp loitered behind 
his guide imtil he found himself alone, and, being unable to 
follow the trail and unskilled in woodcraft, he became utterly 
lost and was forced to spend the night in the woods, sitting 
on the ground with his back to a tree. He was found the 
next day, and arrived at the camp in such a demoralized 
frame of mind, after his agitating experience, that he could 
not make up his mind to stay there, and beat a retreat for 

Among the oil paintings made in 1896 were five excep- 
tionally important pictures, namely, "The Lookout, — All's 
Well!" "The Maine Coast" (sometimes called "The Coast 
of Maine"), "Watching the Breakers," "Sunset, Saco Bay, 
the Coming Storm," and "The Wreck." Homer was infatu- 
ated with the beauty of the night upon the sea ; his great 
success in dealing with this motive in " A Summer Night " 
and "Moonlight, Wood Island Light" gave him courage 
to essay the same subject in a new and more difficult form, 


that of a figure piece on the deck of a ship at sea ; and he 
undertook to make this work a typical as well as an illustra- 
tive page of sea life. His preparations for painting it were 
so painstaking as to indicate that he had a very definite idea 
of what he wished to accomplish in it. He went from Scar- 
boro to Boston, and ransacked the junk-shops along the 
water-front for the purpose of finding, if possible, an old 
ship's bell of exactly the kind that he had in mind, and, not 
being able to obtain just what he wanted, he went back 
to his Prout's Neck studio and modeled one in clay to suit 
himself, after a style that is nowadays rarely seen. Having 
done this, he set the sculptured bell up out-of-doors, engaged 
for his sailorman model one John Getchell of Scarboro, and, 
when the moonlight nights arrived, he set to work. The en- 
tire picture was painted in the moonlight, and it was never 
touched by daylight. For the accessories, including the mast, 
ropes, bulwarks, etc., he had to depend on his old shipboard 
sketches. Not being quite satisfied with these, he went to 
Boston again and went aboard an ocean steamship in the 
evening to study the effect of light on the actual objects. His 
background of ocean was of course always at Prout's Neck, 
ready to his hand. 

Mr. William A. Coffin, the landscape painter, wrote of this 
picture, in the "Century Magazine," September, 1899: — 

" ' The Lookout — All 's Well ' is one of those compositions 
in which Mr. Homer depicts with poetic sensibility, as well as 
with artistic strength, a picture of life at sea. The mariner 
who calls out the familiar 'All 's Well' is a type, not an indi- 
vidual. The ship's bell, with its ornamental metal fixtures, 
above his head, the starry sky, and, just over the rail, the 
white foam of a wave breaking as it slides into the place 
where, a moment before, another broke, are elements in the 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. 
By permission. Copyright by Pennsylvania Academy 
of the Fine Arts 


composition so rightly disposed and so sensitively rendered 
as to give the sentiment characteristic of the vastness of the 
deep and the loneliness of the hour. It is not worth while to 
find fault with the drawing of the sailor's head and hand, 
which might be criticized from the academic point of view. 
They are not fauldess in construction, but they are suffi- 
ciently right to play their part in the general scheme without 
jarring. The effect of moonlight is admirably rendered, and 
the figure, so well placed on the upright canvas, looms up in 
the night with the grave impressiveness of a storied bronze. 
The poetry of a humble but free and manly calling is put 
before us with simplicity, directness, and a sincerity that is 
as convincing in its expression as it is beautiful in pictorial 
aspect. There is a breath of great art in this picture, and if 
the artist had produced nothing but 'The Lookout' and 
' Eight Bells,' these two great works would be sufficient to 
give him a place in the first rank of the world's painters of 
the poetry of toil on sea and land." 

" The Lookout," which is so justly estimated in this criti- 
cism, is a work which carries to its ultimate expression the 
remarkable series of marines with figures which may be 
classified under the general head of pictures of life at sea. 
Beginning with the Tynemouth watercolors of 1881 and 
1882, which deal with shipwrecks and rescues, the life of 
fishermen, fishwives, and coastguardsmen, this series was de- 
veloped in the oil paintings such as "The Life Line" (1884), 
"Lost on the Grand Banks," and "The Fog Warning" 
(1885), "Undertow" and "Eight Bells" (1886), and "The 
Signal of Distress" (1891); and it culminates in the ponder- 
ous, solemn, nocturnal vision of this hardy old tar intoning 
his pithy report of " All 's well ! " Such a breath of great art, 
as Mr. Coffin puts it, is all the more impressive for the rude 


form in which the conception is embodied, though it may 
not, indeed cannot, please the fastidious dilettante for whom 
art is a part of the furnishing of an elegant salon. Nothing 
that Homer has painted is more intensely characteristic of 
him. I will go so far as to say that no picture in existence 
has more of the romance and the wonder of sea life. The 
spirit of this is reduced to its simplest, largest terms. It 
brings to the thought and memory of the observer all the 
stirring tales of the sailor's life and all the picturesque asso- 
ciations of ocean adventure on which the youth of the sea- 
faring races have from time immemorial fed their fancy and 
nourished their instinct for hero-worship. It would have been 
so easy and so inevitable for many painters to make this ap- 
peal in some sort meretricious and theatrical, and it was so 
evidently out of the question for Homer to do so. The able 
seaman is a rough, uncouth, simple-minded and very un- 
heroic-looking creature, and in this Viking head nothing is 
extenuated. Our real heroes nowadays wear no fine raiment, 
are not polished either in their manners or their speech ; and 
we are too well aware of it to accept any false types. In 
other words, Homer is one of those artists who has helped 
us to see things as they are, and not only that, but to realize 
as never before the romance, poetry, nobility, and beauty 
that belong to the truth and are inseparable from it. 

"The Lookout — All's Well" was one of the thirty-one 
works by Homer which entered the Clarke collection. It is 
forty-two inches high by thirty inches wide ; is signed at the 
right, and dated 1896. At the sale of the Clarke collection in 
1899, it was bought by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 
for thirt}^-two hundred dollars. It has been reproduced in 
many forms. An etching after the painting was made by 
Mr. W. H. W. Bicknell for Messrs. John A. Lowell & Com- 


pany of Boston. Homer wrote to Mr. Clarke, March 14, 
1897, regarding this picture, as follows: — 

March 14, 1897. 
Dear Mr. Clarke, — Your letter received. I have a let- 
ter and telegram from Mr. La Farge asking for one or more 
pictures. By good luck I happen to have one that I have not 
shown, and I have ordered it sent to New York. The title is 
"The Lookout." [Pen-and-ink sketch here.] A moonlight, 
at sea. You will be interested in it, as it will be so unex- 
pected and strange. It was one of the two that I was to send 
to Pittsburgh, but I concluded it would not be understood by 
any [one] but myself, and so I only sent one, and kept this, 
in doubt if I would show it anywhere. But I sent it recently 
to Doll & Richards in Boston for them to show it privately 
to some Cunard people and to find out if it was good for 
anything and could be understood. They report that " they 
greatly admire it." So I send it to La Farge for his exhi- 
bition. . . . You mention the idea of a group of my works. 
That is something that must be postponed for at least ten 
years, and due notice given me. I hope that you are well. 
Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOW Homer. 

In "The Maine Coast" we have one of Homer's most 
famous surf pictures. In the judgment of many critics it is 
his masterpiece in the line of marine pieces pure and simple ; 
others will place it second to " On a Lee Shore." There is 
not much to describe in it beyond what I have already at- 
tempted to suggest in alluding to its predecessors in the 
same genre. The design is of a rigid simplicity. We are 
looking seaward from the cliffs of Prout's Neck on a day of 


storm. At our feet the dark ledges are streaming with milky 
retreating foam, and just beyond them a monster wave raises 
its huge bulk as it comes shoreward with an exuberant look 
of tremendous power. Still further out to sea, in the gray 
mist, loom the oncoming lines of wave upon wave, until the 
horizon loses itself in a far turmoil of dimly seen billows. 
" The rain-beaten expanse of the ocean rises high in the pic- 
ture, and meets a sky of lowering gray. The impression of 
a wild, squally day is admirably given, and the handling of 
the subject, quite apart from the technical requirements, is 
comprehensive and lofty. As to the painting, it is this, of 
course, which makes the picture such a triumph of art. It is 
virile and broad. The drawing is simple and big, and the 
color, while veracious, is exceedingly distinguished. The 
truthful aspect of the work, — the result of highly trained 
artistic powers of observation — and the effect of the pic- 
■ ture as a whole, attracting by its pure pictorial quality, are 
equally remarkable." ^ 

" It is in his marines that he seems to reach the ripest 
maturity of his genius ; and most completel}', perhaps, in 
' The Maine Coast.' The human import of the ocean has 
spoken home to him, at last, in its least local significance. 
This picture involves a drama ; but the players are the ele- 
ments ; the text, of universal language ; the theme, as old 
as time. With the enlargement of purpose has come a cor- 
responding grandeur of style; they realize, as no other 
marines with which I am acquainted, the majesty, isolation, 
immensity, ponderous movement and mystery of the ocean, 

boundless, endless, and sublime — 
The image of Eternity — the throne 
Of the Invisible. 

1 William A. Coffin, in the Century Magazine, September, 1899. 




U J^ 






^ ^ a 
























































" They seem to be the spontaneous utterance of a soul full 
to overflowing with the magnitude of its thoughts." 1 

" The Maine Coast" was also bought by Mr. Thomas B. 
Clarke, and when his collection was sold, in 1899, it was pur- 
chased by Mr. F. A. Bell for forty-four hundred dollars. Mr. 
Bell later sold it to Mr. George A. Hearn of New York. It 
is thirty by forty-four inches in dimensions, and is signed, 
and dated 1896. 

Homer sent the picture entitled " The Wreck " to the In- 
ternational exhibition held by the Carnegie Institute, Pitts- 
burgh, Pennsylvania, in the autumn of 1896. On December 5, 
the trustees of the Institute announced their decision as to 
the winners of the prizes and awards established by Mr. 
Carnegie's generosity. The first prize of five thousand dol- 
lars for an American painting completed within 1896 and 
first shown at this exhibition was awarded to Homer for 
" The Wreck." A gold medal accompanied the award, and 
the picture, by the terms of the competition, became the 
property of the Institute. The year 1896 was the only year 
in which a prize was offered under these conditions. In this 
composition we do not see the ship which is wrecked, but 
we get the whole story by suggestion and implication, read- 
ing it in the movements and expressions of the figures of 
the life-saving crew hurrying to the beach with their boat 
on wheels, in the eloquent silhouettes of the tiny figures of 
the intent men and women on the top of yonder dunes, re- 
lieved against the pitiless leaden sky. The artist has thus 
told us ever}'thing by suggestion, since the calamity itself is 
taking place beyond our ken. As we have seen, this highly 
effective method is invariably employed by Homer in his 

' Charles H. Caffin, American Masters of Painting, pp. 79 and 80. New 
York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1906. 


story-telling canvases, and it serves its purpose well. All the 
emotional tension of the situation is brought home to the 
observer, yet there is an element of unsatisfied curiosity, an 
element of mystery, left in the mind. There is another ad- 
vantage in this method of narrative art besides its call upon 
our imaginations : were the painter to attempt to give us 
the details of what is taking place out of our sight, he would 
handicap himself by creating two centres of interest. His 
scheme thus possesses a negative as well as a positive rea- 
son, both of which are of prime importance. 

Mention is made of "The Wreck" in three letters from 
the artist to Mr. Clarke, written in October and December, 
1896. The first of these letters runs as follows : — 

Oct. 5, 1896. 

Mr. Thos. B. Clarke, 

Dear Sir, — After all these years I have at last used the 
subject of that sketch that I promised you, as being the size 
of and painted at the same time as the " Eight Bells." The 
picture that I have painted is called " The Wreck," and I 
send it to the Carnegie Art Gallery for exhibition. I did not 
use this sketch that I am about to send you, but used what 
I have guarded for years, that is, the subject which your 
sketch would suggest. I should like to have you see it (my 
picture) before it is sent off. I think on Wednesday or Thurs- 
day you could see it at Reichard's room. It will be sent on 
the 9th or loth to Budworth for shipment to Pittsburgh. 
Yours very truly, 

WiNSLow Homer. 

The next letter has reference to the sketch. 

Oct. 16, 1896. 

My dear Mr. Clarke, — I send to-day by the American 
Express the long and much talked-of sketch that was made 


at the time of the " Eight Bells." The date I was doubtful 
about (either '85 or '86). I considered, on looking at it, that 
it was much better left as it is than it would be made into a 
picture by figures in the distance, as it has a tone on it now 
that the ten years have given it, and it also has the look of 
being made at once, and is interesting as a quick sketch 
from nature. I only hope that you have not expected any 
more of a picture than this that you now receive. I wish it 
were better, but such as it is I now offer it to you. I would 
give you this with pleasure, but I know your ideas on that 
point, so you can send me, any time in the next ten years 
(the time you have so patiently waited), two hundred and 
fifty dollars in payment for this sketch. I am very glad that 
you like my new picture. I am painting others that I am 
sure you will like, but I have very few pictures to put out, 
as I must do as well, if not better, than that " Storm-Beaten " 
that has been out so long. I will let you know when I send 
my Philadelphia Academy picture to Reichard for shipment, 
as I wish you to see it. It is a very brilliant sunset with 

Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer, 

Mr. Thomas B. Clarke, 
203 West 44th St., New York City. 

The third of the letters was written after the award of the 
prize and the purchase of " The Wreck." 

ScARBORO, Me., Dec. 9, 1896. 

My dear Mr. Clarke, — I thank you for your very kind 

note of congratulation on my success. It is certainly a most 

tremendous and unprecedented honor and distinction that I 

have received from Pittsburgh. Let us hope that it is not 


too late in my case to be of value to American art in some- 
thing that I may yet possibly do from this encouragement. 
Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

" Watching the Breakers : A High Sea " is one of the 
painter's most wonderful winter marine pieces. The place 
might well be just in front of the studio at Prout's Neck, 
where a group of three figures — two men and a woman — 
makes a solid black mass against the snow which lies in 
spotless drifts this side of the black ledges at the top of the 
cliff. A huge wave has just fallen with its full weight upon 
the rocks beneath, and a cloud of flying spray as big as a 
good-sized house is spouting skyward — a spectacle such as 
even those who live the year round on the seashore seldom 
witness. Nothing simpler than the masses and lines here 
could be devised or conceived, and yet the way in which the 
picture takes hold of the mind testifies to its extraordi- 
nary dramatic effectiveness. In a black-and-white version, 
"Watching the Breakers" vies with "On a Lee Shore" and 
"The Maine Coast" for sheer power and sense of inevitable- 

As a matter of course one is utterly unable to express in 
words what this picture has to tell. Were it describable it 
would not be the great picture it is. One might try to sug- 
gest what sort of impression it makes on the imagination, 
might try to divine what qualities of temperament were in- 
volved in the making of it, what agony and ecstasy were 
felt as the conception was taking shape in the mind of the 
maker, — for, after all, however sedulous the artist may be 
to hide himself in his work, the chief interest in a work of 
art lies in its revelations concerning the soul of the artist. 

From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
National Gallery, Washington, D. C. Gift of Mr. Wil- 
liam T. Evans. 









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In the first place we have to do with a man who, while deny- 
ing the right of the world to speculate as to the most inter- 
esting and sacred things in his life, reveals his nobility plainly 
in the grandeur of his works, which are his sole and sufficient 
confession of faith. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his 
interpretations of the austere beauty of the stern New Eng- 
land coast in winter, a kind of beauty which he was the first 
to set forth in all its richness and simplicity. I venture to 
say that there is a vein of the loftiest imaginative power in 
such crj'stal pages from Nature's book as " Watching the 
Breakers." It is akin to the reverential and solemn exalta- 
tion of spirit which inspired the words of the Psalmist of old 
who sang that " the heavens declare the glory of God, and 
the firmament sheweth his handiwork ; day unto day uttereth 
speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." The 
might and mystery of the sea, a tremendous text, he could 
not thus feel, and in turn make us feel it, without a deep 
religious conviction of the significance and moral order that 
lie beneath its external manifestations of splendor. The artist 
does not formulate these intuitions into a code ; he may be 
but vaguely aware of their existence ; but they form the 
spiritual foundations upon which he builds. 

"Watching the Breakers" is twenty-four and one quarter 
inches high by thirty-eight inches wide. It has been exhibited 
in Boston, Worcester, and New York. At the sale of the Hoyt 
collection in New York, in 1905, it was bought by Mr. A. R. 
Flower for twenty-seven hundred dollars. It is now owned 
by Mrs. H. W. Rogers. 

"Sunset, Saco Bay, the Coming Storm " was first exhibited 
at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1 896-1 897. 
Homer served as one of the members of the jury on paint- 
ings at this exhibition, in December, 1896. The picture was 


purchased for one thousand dollars by the Lotos Club, New 
York, which maintains a fund for the encouragement of 
American art. In the foreground of the picture is a mass of 
dark rock, on which stand two women with their backs turned 
toward the ocean. The figures are silhouetted against the 
sea and sky. The woman at the right, standing on the crest 
of the rocks, has a fish-net with cork floats over her shoulder. 
The other woman holds a lobster pot. A rosy glow is on the 
water. The rim of the setting sun shows above blue clouds 
at the horizon, and near the top of the canvas are heavy 
clouds edged with light. Against the horizon there is a small 
sail-boat at the left and a line of shore at the right. 

The gold medal of the Pennsylvania Academy was awarded 
to Homer. This medal, founded in 1893 by Mr. John H. 
Converse, is bestowed, at the discretion of the board of di- 
rectors, "in recognition of high achievement in their pro- 
fession, to American painters and sculptors who may be ex- 
hibitors at the Academy or represented in the permanent 
collection, or who, for eminent services in the cause of art or 
to the Academy, have merited the distinction." 

To the annual exhibition of American art held by the Cin- 
cinnati Art Museum in 1896 Homer sent a watercolor called 
" Hauling in Anchor," which he had painted during one of 
his winter journe3'S to the South. This subject he found at 
Key West. Like most of his watercolors, it is so broadly and 
rapidly brushed in that it may be called a sketch, but it is a 
truly beautiful example of his power of rendering the essen- 
tials of an impression and of giving an aspect of complete- 
ness to a vivid suggestion. A broad-beamed schooner, of 
clumsy lines, lies in the foreground of the scene, at the left, 
with her crew making ready to get under way. Two horses 
and several pigs form a part of her deck load. In the dis- 


tance at the right is a key with palm trees relieved against 
the sky. The sunlight falls on the water and the starboard 
side of the vessel's hull and on her sails, with a fine effect of 
luminosity. This admirable drawing was bought by the Cin- 
cinnati Museum Association, on the recommendation of the 
ad\'isorj' committee, of which Mr. Frank Duveneck was chair- 
man. "They thought it a characteristic example of his work," 
Mr. J. H. Gest, the director, wrote to me, "and quite unusual 
in largeness of feeling and directness of expression." The 
lovely blues and greens in the water, characteristic of the 
waters of the South, naturally lose much in the reproduction. 

The tubby schooner in this drawing is, I have no doubt, 
one of the Bahaman island boats which trade between the 
mainland and the sparse settlements of the archipelago ; and 
the pigs on her deck are probably some of the descendants 
of a breed brought to the Bahamas long ago from Africa. 
One day Homer brought several of his Nassau and Key 
West watercolors to Doll & Richards' s store in Boston to 
have them framed for an exhibition ; and the little pigs fig- 
ured in several of the subjects. He told all about the breed, 
and expatiated on the unusual characteristics of the animals, 
making no allusion to the qualities of the drawings ; and one 
would have thought that his sole interest was for the beasts. 

I am indebted to Mr. Ross Turner, of Salem, Massachu- 
setts, for an account of a day spent with Homer at Front's 
Neck in the month of August, about 1896. 

"The Neck," says Mr. Turner, "is one of those superb 
promontories that are frequently seen on the Maine coast, a 
huge pile of everlasting gray rock rising up from the sea, 
clothed with dark evergreen trees, interspersed with granite 
boulders gray with lichens and mosses. 

" We were ushered into a large room on the ground floor. 


A very spacious fireplace occupied nearly all of one side of 
this room, suggesting good cheer and warmth when cold and 
windy without. We were impressed with the complete ori- 
ginality of this home. Between the front door and the near 
window was a small table which bore an assortment of good 
things to tempt the appetite of the transient visitor; Homer 
called it his ' free lunch.' There were sardines, crackers, and 
other lunch-like commodities, and it was a nice thing to learn 
that our painter host liked candy 1 One of the guests at least 
had a sweet tooth, and the opportunity to chew was not lost. 

" Our painter friend made this studio his home for a con- 
siderable part of each year, and with a merry twinkle in his 
eyes he related to us some of his adventures and experiences 
in the summer time with the many lady visitors who come to 
sketch at the Neck. He had been the innocent victim of a 
bevy of young lady students that summer, and he drolly re- 
lated how they had kept a constant and tireless watch upon 
his every movement, a scouting party being at all times on 
duty, ready for any emergency. When our host sallied forth 
with his sketching kit and his pipe (to keep insects and other 
disagreeable things at a distance), a signal was at once given 
by the sentinel on duty, and a committee, duly prepared 
to paint or to die, likewise started out, and the painter was 
tracked, and discreetly but persistently kept in view, and was 
often obliged to beat a disorderly retreat back to the studio 
— his castle and his refuge in time of danger. To have as- 
saulted this stronghold might have been somewhat hazard- 
ous to the enemy ; he pointed to a musket behind the door, 
which was suggestive, if only as a quiet joke. 

" Our painter host was a true yachtsman, as much at home 
on a vessel as in his studio. He knew all the ways of the 
wind and the wave, like an old salt. He painted a boat with 

From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Burton 
■ Mansfield, New Haven, Connecticut 


all the keen knowledge of a skipper, yet with the supreme 
touch of an artist . . . The conversation led us to speak of 
a mutual friend, a fine yachtsman and generous host, who 
lived in a bungalow down on the Cape, where Homer often 
visited him. On one of his many yachting trips Homer 
anchored one night off Appledore Island, and went ashore 
for his supper. The next morning a smart favorable breeze 
invited him to a quick spin over to Annisquam for breakfast 
at his friend's bungalow, and with all canvas spread a swift 
run soon brought him to his harbor. . . . M. cordially greeted 
Homer, assisted him to put his small yacht out of commis- 
sion temporarily, and hinted that as soon as his larger craft 
could be made ready they would go out for a little cruise in 
the open sea. Quite absorbed in making preparations for 
this run, he forgot to ask if his visitor had breakfasted, and 
the latter began to feel the pangs of hunger. The sails were 
unfurled, stores were carried aboard, and in the meantime all 
hints as to breakfast time fell on unheeding ears, until finally 
Homer said frankly that he needed something to eat. 

" M., in a half absent-minded sort of way, began to think 
that somebody wanted something, and suggested that our 
half-famished painter might take a look in the locker, where 
he could probably find something — peppermint candy and 
soda crackers : what a breakfast for a man with a real salt- 
sea appetite ! 'Think of me,' said Homer, 'chewing pepper- 
mint candy and crackers for breakfast at ten o'clock in the 
morning. Had n't had a biscuit since supper the evening 
before, and, as you know, living in Maine, I had no liquid 
ballast aboard. I said to M. : " Now, remember this, I do not 
go away from this house until I have breakfasted. You may 
get it, or I will. Where is that coffee-pot, quick?" M. now 
bestirred himself, and soon a delightful meal was ready.' 


" Our painter's studio had an upper floor for all sorts of 
things, among them many pictures, mostly watercolor draw- 
ings. It was a treat to look these things over, and Homer, 
most affable and obliging, spared neither time nor pains to 
entertain his guests. He seemed to paint everything as a 
vision of light and color ; he could touch a distant sail with 
gold, or the deep shadow of a summer cloud as well. Some 
of the studies were deep-toned effects in the primitive forests 
of the Adirondacks, painted simply and truly ; they were 
masterly in composition and with a splendid disregard for 
all that is conventional and commonplace. The great rocks 
at the Neck were painted in all their grandeur ; the ever- 
green trees and bushes were touched with tongues of flame ; 
ever3'thing was saturated in local color and light. He was a 
master in sea painting, as one of his black-and-white ink 
wash drawings before me will testify ; a great stretch of sea 
and cloud, the water silvery, the clouds broken by a few vig- 
orous sweeps of the brush. Over the water are several spiral 
swirls connecting the distant line of the horizon with the im- 
mediate foreground, or, if I may say so, the forewater. A 
tiny sail off in the middle distance just lends a single note of 
life, and makes the spaces of sea and air seem vast, almost 

"As the mid-day passed by, our host, not unmindful of his 
guests' appetites, said: 'We will go down to Father's house 
for dinner, for I feel that you will be better satisfied there 
than with the best I could offer you in the studio.' So we 
adjourned to dinner, and enjoyed a most excellent repast, 
and our painter was quite in his element, not to speak of the 
pleasure given to us. This charming day at last came to 
an end, and we strolled down the hillside, and, finding a 
conveyance ready, we bade our host farewell, hugging to 


ourselves a delightful study, one of the earlier Gloucester 
subjects, depicting some girls in gayly colored sunbonnets, 
wading in the shallow water, with just a touch of a white cloud 
beyond, and a deep rich shade of a hillside in sunlight across 
the bay. At the memorial exhibition in the Museum of Fine 
Arts, Boston, one of the large marines in oil suggests the 
line in a beautiful poem : — 

A garden is a sea of flowers, and the sea is a garden of foam. 



I 896-1 90 1, ^tat. 60-65 

Reminiscences of Mr. Bixbee — Winslow Homer and his Father — On the 
Pittsburgh Jury — " Flight of the Wild Geese " — "A Light on the Sea " — 
Sale of the Clarke Collection — Honors in Paris — "Eastern Point" — 
" On a Lee Shore " — Letters — A Shipwreck. 

HOMER passed the entire winter of 1896-1897 at 
Prout's Neck, with the exception of a few days from 
time to time in Boston, where his old father was 
then living. In a letter from Mr. William J. Bixbee, the 
marine painter, dated at Marblehead, November 2, 19 10, he 
relates his recollections of the father and son at that time : — 
" I think it was in the winter of 1896-97," he writes, " I 
lived at The Winthrop, on Bowdoin Street, Boston, and Mr. 
Homer, Senior, resided in the same house, — he and his 
colored valet. Mr. Homer was then about ninety years of 
age. He was a very agreeable old gentleman to talk with, 
and was fond of telling reminiscences of his long business 
life in Boston. His son Winslow used to come there to see 
his father every two or three weeks, and it was my privilege 
to become slightly acquainted with Winslow, who was not 
much inclined to ' talk shop.' But his father never tired of 
talking of his son, and his son's success. ' But,' he said, 
' Winslow was a most unpractical business man.' And then 
he told me of a picture that Winslow sent to his agents in 
New York, and told them to get fifteen hundred dollars for 


From the watercolor in the collection of Colonel Frank 

J. Hecker, Detroit 


From the watercolor belonging to the Edward W. Hooper 
estate, Boston. Photograph by Chester A. Lawrence 


the picture. Some time afterward Winslow received a letter 
from the dealers telling him of some people who liked the 
picture very much, and had offered twelve hundred dollars 
for it. They (the dealers) wished to know if they should sell 
at that price. Winslow sat down and wrote a very short 
answer, saying, ' Make the price nineteen hundred dollars.' 
The old gentleman said that was the most unbusinesslike 
thing he had ever heard of, and said he was quite vexed 
about it, and he gave him quite a scolding. 

" When Winslow came to Boston that winter, he did not 
stay at the Winthrop with his father, but used to go to the 
American House. I asked Mr. Homer why his son did not 
put up at the Winthrop. ' Well,' he said, ' Winslow likes to 
stay at a house where he can get something to drink.' 

" In my slight acquaintance with Winslow Homer, I found 
him a rather pleasant man to talk with, but, as I said before, 
he avoided as much as possible talking about himself, or his 
work, or about pictures. He did not look professional. He 
dressed neatly, and had the appearance of a well-to-do busi- 
ness man. No affectation. 

" I said to him once : ' I should think you would like to 
have a studio during the winter months in Boston or New 
York.' He said : ' I had rather put my pictures in the hands 
of the dealers when I get through with them. I don't want 
a lot of people nosing round my studio and bothering me. 
I don't want to see them at all. Let the dealers have all that 

" His father thought it strange Winslow should want to 
stay at Scarboro through the winters, alone. During the 
summer months the family was together, — the old gentle- 
man, Winslow's brothers, and Winslow." 

The relations between the son and the father were alto- 


gether ideal, and as the latter grew a little childish in his last 
few years, Winslow's untiring devotion was more than ever 
beautiful. He was all that a son should be. The old man's 
pride in his son's success was touching. He could hardly 
understand it, but it gave him infinite pleasure. He was a 
strong temperance man, and he did not approve of Winslow's 
habit of taking what the New England folk call an " eleven 
o'clocker." When he was at Front's Neck, Winslow tried to 
induce his father to take a little something for his stomach's 
sake. At eleven o'clock he would bring him a cocktail, and 
the two regularly went through with the following dialogue : 

" Now, father, don't you think you 'd better take this ? It 
will do you good." 

" Is there any alcoholic liquor in that, Winslow ? " 

" Yes, father." 

" Well, I won't touch it, then." 

" Father, if you don't take it, I '11 drink it myself." 

" Well, Winslow, rather than have you destroy the tissues 
of your stomach by drinking this alcoholic beverage, I '11 
drink it." 

And he did so. 

By a vote of the exhibiting artists, Homer was elected a 
member of the jury on the award of the prizes for the exhi- 
bition at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 
in 1897 ; and in October he proceeded to Pittsburgh, where 
he met his fellow-members of the jury, — John La Farge, 
Will H. Low, William M. Chase, Frank W. Benson, Edmund 
C. Tarbell, Cecilia Beaux, Frank Duveneck, Edwin Lord 
Weeks, and John M. Swan. The jury had four full days of 
work, and became rather tired. Towards the end of the task, 
when evidences of weariness began to appear, Mr. John W. 
Beatty, director of fine arts, invited all the members to go 


on a little excursion to look over the great steel works at 
Homestead. Everj-body seemed glad of the diversion, ex- 
cept Homer, who said : — 

" Mr. Beatty, I came here to work, and if we go to Home- 
stead it will delay us, and I want to get home as soon as I 
can, for if I am late my father will be anxious about me." 

Mr. Benson has told me that he found Homer much inter- 
ested in the works of the painters submitted to this jurj^, and 
extremely conscientious in the performance of his duties as 
a juryman. In conversation, Mr. Benson chanced to speak 
of " The Lookout — All 's Well," and when he praised it 
warmly. Homer appeared greatly pleased. He then said that 
he had painted it wholly by moonlight. It turned out that he 
had seen several of Mr. Benson's pictures, of which he spoke 
with cordial appreciation. 

The picture entitled " The Flight of the Wild Geese" be- 
longs to the year 1897. This canvas exemplifies the original- 
ity of the artist's obser^'ation and his extraordinary instinct 
for a fine composition. The file of startled wild geese fly- 
ing above the sand dunes, where a pair of their unfortunate 
fellow-fowls have just been brought to earth by a shot, is 
remarkable in its swift movement, and the pattern of the 
picture is extremely interesting. The picture is in the col- 
lection of Mrs. Roland C. Lincoln of Boston. It has been 
loaned to several exhibitions, including that at the Carnegie 
Institute, Pittsburgh, in 1908, and that of the Worcester Art 
Museum in 19 10. It was also in the Boston memorial exhi- 
bition of 191 1. 

A collection of landscapes by American artists, arranged 
by Mr. William T. Evans, at the Lotos Club, New York, in 
1907, contained "The Northeaster" (1895), which occupied 
the place of honor. " Storm-Beaten " (1894) was exhibited at 


the fifty-fifth exhibition of the Boston Art Club the same 

"A Light on the Sea," painted in 1897, was first exhibited 
at the Pittsburgh exhibition in the fall of that year, and in 
New York in February, 1898, at one of the occasional loan 
exhibitions held by the Union League Club. It was hung in 
the place of honor at the end of the gallery. A robust fish- 
wife is standing in the foreground, with her arms akimbo, and 
a net draped over her right shoulder. Beyond her figure, a 
gleam of moonlight strikes on an expanse of sea white with 
foam. This work did not please all of the critics, and the 
figure in particular has been adversely criticised. One of the 
New York critics wrote : "The heavy impasto, the vehement 
rather than strong manner, and the absence of any indication 
of a clear understanding of form, even in the figure, prevent 
the picture from being an unqualified success." The "Even- 
ing Post" found the work not wholly satisfactory in a tech- 
nical sense, and said : " The stolid, huge figure of a woman, 
standing on a rocky shore, directly in front of the moon, 
which silvers the sea, is too definitely painted to give the true 
effect of the light, and there is lack of refinement in the treat- 
ment of the detail. But at a distance from which these things 
are not noticeable the picture masses with unaffected and 
powerful simplicity. The figure and the shore, dark against 
the moonlit sea, merge into a single conformation that is 
singularly impressive." In spite of these strictures, which I 
give here for what they are worth, the work must have found 
some admirers, for it was bought by the Corcoran Gallery of 
Art, Washington, for its permanent collection. 

In March, 1898, the loan exhibition at the Union League 
Club was entirely devoted to the paintings by two great 
American artists, George Inness and Winslow Homer. The 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Charles L. 

Freer, Detroit 



exhibition proved to be one of the artistic sensations of the 
year. All the pictures were loaned by Mr. Thomas B. Clarke, 
then the chairman of the club's art committee. Twenty-five 
of Homer's works were included in this collection, and among 
them were his "Rations," "The Bright Side," "The Two 
Guides," "The Camp Fire," "The Visit from the Old Mis- 
tress," "The Carnival," "The Life Line," " Eight Bells," and 
" The West Wind." An amusingly cautious estimate of these 
works appeared in " The Studio," which considered " Ra- 
tions" and the "Bright Side" "almost equal to Eastman 
Johnson at his best," and spoke of "The Life Line," " Eight 
Bells," " Coast in Winter," "The Gale," "The Maine Coast," 
and "The Lookout — All's Well" as a series of epics and 
tragedies of the seacoast which might be deemed " almost 
unique in the annals of American art." 

In 1899 an exhibition of twenty-seven watercolors by 
Homer, illustrating life and scenes in the Province of Que- 
bec, was held at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, and, later, 
at the gallery of Doll & Richards, Boston. The collection 
contained five or six monochrome drawings of the city of 
Quebec and its environs, and the rest of the works depicted 
the fishing waters of Lake St. John and the Saguenay River. 
The general character of this group of drawings may be in- 
ferred from the titles: " Ouananiche Fishing," "Entering 
the First Rapid," " He Malin," " Fishing, Upper Saguenay," 
"The Return up the River," "Under the Falls, Grand Dis- 
charge," " Young Ducks," "Sunset, Lake St. John," " End of 
the Portage," "Wicked Island," "The Trip to Chicoutimi," 
"Ouananiche, Lake St. John," "Guides Shooting Rapids," 
"Lake Shore," "The Fishing Ground," "Rapids below 
Grand Discharge," " Indian Camp," " Canoes in the Rapids," 
"The Head Guide," " The Rapids are Near," " Cape Dia- 


mond," "Indian Boy," "Indian Girls," "St. John's Gate," 
"Wolfe's Cove," "Canadian Camp," and "Trout Fishing." 
Four of these drawings were bought by the Museum of Fine 
Arts, Boston. 

The Boston correspondent of the " Art Interchange " wrote 
of this collection : " The Province of Quebec is not an over- 
familiar ground to most of us, either in life or in art. This 
northern scenery may well be bleak, strong, and dark, as the 
artist has painted it ; to enjoy it in actual contact calls for 
a strain of the old Norseman spirit. Such a picture as the 
'Lake Shore,' for instance, shows cold and gray in tone ; the 
trees lean inland, their roots grip the outcropping rocks. 
'Under the Falls, Grand Discharge' shows a dark, formless 
background, before which the water breaks in a whirlpool of 
foam, while in the foreground it has a surface of mottled blue. 
The smooth surface of swift-running water is given in many 
of these paintings, a surface that usually accompanies an 
almost resistless current, yet the fragile birch canoes are held 
steady by their sturdy paddlers among rocks that scatter 
the water in tawny foam. Fishing is also well represented. 
' The Fishing Ground ' is abundantly luminous, but as a 
whole the effect is of impending darkness and storm. One 
feels that Mr. Homer's broad style and low-toned color- 
scheme belong to the work that he set himself to accom- 

" The Gulf Stream," of which I have spoken, was finished 
in 1899. This was the year of the sale of the Thomas B. 
Clarke collection in New York. There were thirty-one works 
by Homer in this collection. Sixteen of them were oil paint- 
ings, and fifteen watercolors. The oil paintings brought a 
total of thirty thousand three hundred and thirty dollars ; the 
watercolors two thousand nine hundred and sixty-five dol- 


lars ; making a grand total for the thirty-one works of thirty- 
three thousand two hundred and ninety-five dollars. The 
greatest prices were obtained for "Eight Bells" (forty-seven 
hundred dollars), "The Life Line" (forty-five hundred dol- 
lars), " Moonlight, Wood Island Light " (thirty-six hundred 
and fifty dollars), "The Maine Coast" (forty-four hundred 
dollars), "The Coast in Winter" (twenty-six hundred and 
twenty-five dollars), " The Lookout — All 's Well " (thirty-two 
hundred dollars), " The West Wind " (sixteen hundred and 
seventy-five dollars), and "The Gale" (sixteen hundred and 
twenty-five dollars). The oil paintings, large and small, real- 
ized an average of a little more than eighteen hundred and 
ninety-five dollars each. This sale made a distinct sensation, 
and from it may be said to date a new standard of material 
values for first-rate American paintings. The only picture by 
Homer in the Clarke collection which went directly from that 
collection into a public museum was "The Lookout — All 's 
Well," which, as we have related, was acquired by the Mu- 
seum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

If Mr. Clarke made a substantial profit on the Homer 
paintings, it was no more than he deserved to make. Some 
of them, we may be certain, had doubled in price since they 
left the artist's studio. But this was not to be the last of their 
appreciation in value ; for several of them have changed 
hands since the Clarke sale at distinctly enhanced prices. 

That the artist was by no means ungrateful for what Mr. 
Clarke had done for him is shown by a letter written as early 
as 1892, in which he said : " I never for a moment have for- 
gotten you in connection with what success I have had in art. 
I am under the greatest obligations to you, and will never 
lose an opportunity of showing it. I shall always value any 
suggestion that you may make." This was in answer to a 


letter from Mr. Clarke in which he told Homer that he was 
planning to devote one room in his house to the artist's 
works and to call it the Homer gallery. In the same letter 
Mr. Clarke also told him of the visit of the distinguished 
painter John S. Sargent, who came with Mrs. T. L. Manson, 
Jr., to see Mr. Clarke's American pictures, and more particu- 
larly those painted by Homer. Homer was much pleased to 
think that Mr. Clarke contemplated keeping his pictures by 
themselves, and that he was still eager to acquire more of 
them. " I wish that he could have known how I loved his 
oils and watercolors," said Mr. Clarke, in telling me of this 

Timely recognition came to Winslow Homer. His was 
not to be one of those pathetic stories of a life-long struggle 
against indifference and hostility which fill the pages of the 
histories of so many painters of merit and even of genius. 
It is subject for rejoicing to reflect that Homer's last decade 
of life was not embittered by neglect and adversity. It was 
especially gratifying to observe the spreading fame of the 
great painter, because his modesty was equal to his deserv- 
ing. Reputation and reward did not wait for him to pass 
away before underlining his name in the category of Ameri- 
can immortals. The artists, the critics, and the collectors had 
for long been in accord as to his merits ; and they were pro- 
gressively imposing their own estimation of him upon the 
rest of the world. The popular opinion as to great works of 
art is sooner or later controlled by the few who know. 

To the universal exposition held at Paris in 1900 Homer 
sent four of his greatest oil paintings, namely, "The Fox 
Hunt," "The Coast of Maine," "The Lookout— All's Well," 
and " A Summer Night." It may interest my readers to scan 
the list in French, as given in the catalogue : — 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 


Homer (Winslow), ne k Boston, Mass., eleve de Frederick 
Rendel. — A Scaxboro (Maine). 

152. La Chasse au renard. 

153. Le Cote de Maine. 

154. Tout va bien. 

155. Nuit d'ete. 

He was awarded a gold medal, and the picture of "A 
Summer Night " was bought by the French government 
and placed in the Luxembourg Museum, Paris. The grand 
prizes went to Sargent and Whisder ; gold medals to Abbey, 
Alexander, Cecilia Beaux, Brush, Chase, Homer, and Thayer. 
Homer served on the national jury on paintings for the 
American section of the exposition, with twenty other artists 
(E. H. Blashfield, J. G. Brown, W. M. Chase, Frederick Diel- 
man, Bolton Jones, John La Farge, G. W. Maynard, H. S. 
Mowbray, Edward Simmons, J. Alden Weir, E. C. Tarbell, 
F. P. Vinton, C. H. Woodbury, Cecilia Beaux, R. W. Von- 
noh, Frank Duveneck, Ralph Clarkson, T. C. Steele, and 
E. H. Vv^uerpel). 

The French Ministry of the Fine Arts assuredly made a 
good selection when "A Summer Night" was acquired for 
the Luxembourg. The French critics of discernment had 
from the first shown their acumen in singling Homer out 
for that measure of approbation which they withheld from 
Americans trained in their own schools. They could per- 
ceive that in his work were the racy and racial qualities for 
which they were looking in vain in the works of the Ameri- 
can painters elsewhere. Nothing gave Homer and his friends 
more legitimate pleasure and satisfaction than this well-won 

"Eastern Point" was painted in 1900. The size of the 


picture is forty-eight by thirty inches, and the owner is Mr. 
L. G. Bloomingdale of New York. The painting was ex- 
hibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 
1903. It was made in the little painting-house of which I 
have spoken. Any one can easily discover, in exploring the 
rocks in this part of Prout's Neck, the precise place from 
which the subject was viewed. The ledges in the foreground 
are drawn with perfect fidelity, and the surf beyond, with two 
fountains of wind-driven spray, gives an accurate index of 
the state of the weather and tide. 

Sometimes the painter was asked to suggest a subject that 
he would be willing to paint for a certain customer ; and his 
feeling with respect to this procedure is well set forth in a 
letter which he wrote in September, 1900, to a firm of pic- 
ture dealers. " I do not care to put out any ideas for pictures," 
he wrote. " They are too valuable, and can be appropriated 
by any art student, defrauding me out of a possible picture. 
I will risk this one, and I assure you that I have some fine 
subjects to paint. . . . When I paint anything that I think 
your customer would like, I will submit it to you. Please 
return the enclosed sketch at your convenience." With this 
he enclosed a small sketch of a composition to which he 
gave the alternative titles, " On the Banks — Hard-a-Port — 

■ The marine masterpiece entitled " On a Lee Shore" was 
finished in 1900, although the picture itself bears no date. 
It was sent to a Chicago picture dealer, who sold it to Dr. 
F. W. Gunsaulus, president of the Armour Institute of Tech- 
nology. Dr. Gunsaulus did not keep the picture long, for in 
1901 it was exhibited at the Rhode Island School of Design, 
Providence, and was bought by that institution with the Jesse 
Metcalf Fund, which is a fund established for the annual pur- 


chase of some work of art by an American painter. The 
letter in which Homer introduced it to the attention of the 
Chicago picture dealer is interesting as showing that he was 
naively conscious of having produced one of his very best 

ScAKBORo, Me., Oct. 19th, 1900. 
Messrs. M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — I have a very excellent painting, " On a 
Lee Shore ' ' [here he gives a very slight pen-and-ink sketch 
of the subject], 39x39. The price is (with the frame) ^2000, 
net. I will send it to you if you desire to see it. Good things 
are scarce. Frame not ordered yet, but I can send it by the 
time McKinley is elected. 

Yours respectfully, 

WiNSLOW Homer, 

"On a Lee Shore" is another wonderful representation of 
the Adantic Ocean in its stormy mood as seen from the shore 
at Front's Neck. There are no figures. No words are ca- 
pable of doing justice to the majestic sense of elemental 
power, the irresistible onrush, the splendor of untamable 
forces, that make of this marine piece one of the most unfor- 
getable and impressive visions of the sea ever placed upon 
canvas. It is a page of transcendent beauty and overwhelm- 
ing might. In it abides the high and solemn poetry of the 
vasty deep. The composition is singularly strong and novel. 
The commotion and turmoil of the surf in the foreground is 
a shade beyond an)rthing in the history of marine painting, 
and a touch of human interest is added by the little schooner 
in the offing which is making a brave fight to keep away 
from the dangerous coast. The passion for truth which had 
been the main gniding principle of the artist's whole life here 


found its greatest culmination and its most perfect form of 
expression. He had not steeped himself in nature in vain. 

Finding that a considerable demand for his pictures ex- 
isted in Chicago, Homer presently undertook to paint a 
marine piece as a special commission for Messrs. M. O'Brien 
& Son, as may be inferred from the following letter : — 

Dec. 20th, 1900. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — I am extremely obliged to you for your 
kind letter, and the picture that you refer to I promise to send 
to you when finished. 

I will look upon it in future as your particular picture. 

I do not think I can finish it before I have a crack at it 
out of doors in the spring. I do not like to rely on my study 
that I have used up to date. 

But here is something that I can do. I shall have in about 
three weeks' time as many as six pictures all framed and on 
sale and exhibition. I will ship some of them to you, as the 
present holders should get sick of them after two or three 
weeks' trial of sales. 

I show three at the Union League Club on Jan. loth. 

I will let you have something this winter. I will notify you 
when I leave here. 

Yours very truly, 

Winslow Homer. 

It was in 1901 or 1902 that the five-masted schooner 
"Washington B. Thomas" was wrecked on Stratton Island, 
about a mile and a quarter off Front's Neck. There was a 
fog at the time she went ashore, but the sea was compara- 
tively smooth. Homer saw her masts emerging from the fog 
bank, and hastily sent his man-servant up to the telegraph 


office to wire to Portland for assistance. Having then done 
his duty as a humanitarian, he ran into the studio, seized a 
large piece of academy-board and his box of watercolors, and, 
securing a boat, had himself taken out to the island to paint 
the wreck. He did not quite finish the watercolor, which is 
in the possession of Charles S. Homer, and shows the crew 
on the deck. Tugs arrived from Portland, and the men of 
the crew were taken ofi, while he was still working on the 
drawing. Later the masts went by the board, and the ves- 
sel's hull was broken in two. The w^eather-worn bitts in 
Homer's front door-yard and other fragments of the schooner 
are still preserved. 



1901-1903. ^tat. 65-67 

The Process of Making the "Early Morning after Storm at Sea" — A 
Peep behind the Scenes — A Lesson in Etiquette — The Temple Gold Medal 
— Off for Key West. 

A GOLD medal for watercolors was awarded to Homer 
by the fine arts jury of the Pan-American Exposition, 
Buffalo, New York, in 1901. His oil painting entitled 
"Fog" (probably the picture referred to by him in his letter 
of September, 1900, quoted in the foregoing chapter), was 
exhibited in the sixty-third exhibition of the Boston Art 
Club. He again served on the jury for the international ex- 
hibition of that year at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh. 
The other members of the jury were John La Farge, Robert 
W. Vonnoh, Thomas Eakins, Frank W. Benson, F. W. Freer, 
JohnW. Alexander, R. W. Allan and Aman-Jean. 

The Copley Society of Boston, which had been planning 
to hold a loan exhibition of Whistler's works, was met with 
a refusal of cooperation on the part of the painter, and the 
directors thereupon began looking about with a view to 
learning what might be done in other directions. Various 
suggestions were made, such as an exhibition of Gilbert 
Stuart's portraits, a loan exhibition of American landscapes, 
and a Picturesque Boston show ; and I ventured to suggest 
an exhibition of Winslow Homer's works. I wrote in the 
"Transcript" : — 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Metropolitan Museum of A rt, New York 


" This painter, a native of Boston, is sixty-five years old, 
and his career, from the time he began to paint, just before 
the outbreak of the Civil War, up to the present day, covers 
nearly a half-century of professional activity and incessant 
productiveness. The number and importance of his oil paint- 
ings and watercolors are beyond precise computation, but it 
is certain that the sum total of his productions would mount 
well up into the hundreds. There can be no doubt as to 
the existence of ample material for a great collection. The 
occasional small exhibitions of his pictures in Boston from 
time to time during the last thirty years have given but a 
fragmentary' and inadequate measure of his genius. A repre- 
sentative collection of his pictures, including his most typical 
oil paintings, and a hundred or more well-chosen examples 
of his watercolors, would be a veritable revelation, and would 
constitute an art event of national importance. . . . That 
a representative exhibition of Winslow Homer's works has 
never been held is a strange anomaly. There is no good 
reason for waiting until he is dead to do him this honor." 

No action was taken on this matter. 

"The Gulf Stream," painted in 1899, was exhibited at the 
international exhibition of art at Venice in 1901. 

Writing to Messrs. M. O'Brien & Son, of Chicago, under 
date of Dec. 3, 1901, Homer read a lesson in etiquette to a 
photographer who had had the presumption to place his 
name in a place to which he had no right. 

ScARBORO, Me., Dec. 3, 1901. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — My last letter referred to three photo- 
graphs that were sent to me by the owner to be signed ("in 
very black ink," etc.). 


Anything written or printed under a print or picture takes 
the attention from it, and if it is very black or white in any 
marked degree will utterly destroy its beauty. 

When I received these photographs I found much to my 
disapproval that a photographer had put his name and im- 
print immediately under the right-hand side of the print (the 
place for the artist's signatnre'), in a most pronounced man- 
ner. [Pen-and-ink sketch here.] 

I have forgotten his name, but he is not the man who took 
the negative. 

The place for the man's name, if he has any right to show 
it on an unpublished print, is here : [Pen-and-ink sketch 
showing the name at the lower right-hand corner of the 

That incident is closed. 

It is about time that I received my picture the " Gulf 
Stream" back from Venice, and the beautiful frame on it 
will go on the O'B. Partic' picture directly I can get hold of 
it and finish the picture. 

Yours respectfully and very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

At the bottom of the last page of this letter, underneath 
the signature, was a hasty sketch of a lighted lamp, with the 
words, "6.30 A. M. Dec. 3." 

The further correspondence with the Messrs. O'Brien, 
chiefly in regard to the painting which he had promised to 
make especially for them, extended through the year 1902, 
and gives an interesting glimpse of the story of the making 
of the picture. The cause of the delay in completing this 
painting, which was entitled " Early Morning After Storm 
at Sea," and which the painter called the best picture of the 


sea that he had ever made, will appear in the course of the 

ScARBORO, Maine, March 15, 1902. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — I have ordered M. Knoedler & Co. to 
send to you the two oil paintings, "The Gulf Stream" and 
" High Cliff," — the one just home from Venice, the other 
from Pittsburg. 

You appear to expect three pictures. These two are the 
only ones. I mentioned that the frame on the large picture 
would fit the " O'Brien " — but the O'B. is not finished. It 
will please you to know that, after waiting a full year, look- 
ing out every day for it (when I have been here), on the 
24th of Feb'y, my birthday, I got the light and the sea that 
I wanted ; but as it was very cold I had to paint out of my 
window, and I was a little too far away, — and although 
making a beautiful thing — [here is inserted a rude sketch 
of a trumpet, marked "own trumpet"] — it is not good 
enough yet, and I must have another painting from nature 
on it. 

The net price to me on " High Cliff" is ^2000 (two thou- 
sand dollars). 

The net price to me on " The Gulf Stream " is foooo (three 
thousand dollars). 

Yours truly, 

Winslow Homer. 

March 30, 1902. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — I am in receipt of your letter. In reply I 
will say that I think it is quite possible that the O'B. picture 
will be the last thing of importance that I shall paint. The 


present "High Cliff" that you have is the best of the two 
or three oil paintings that I now own. I have many water- 
colors, — " Two Winters in the West Indies," — as good 
work, with the exception of one or two etchings, as I ever 

With the duckets that I now have safe, I think I will retire 
at 66 years of age, praise God in good health. 

I take note of your flattering request for photograph of 
myself. I think I may have one made, and I will send it to 
you. Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

ScARBORO, Me., Sept. 27, 1902. 

Messrs. M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — I find on looking up my drawings, that 
I have not seen for fifteen years, that I have only twelve. 
These I have sent to you to-day by the American Express. 

Please handle them very carefully until they are framed 
with a narrow half-inch black wood frame and in the same 
mats in which they are ; in fact, open them once, and take 
the measure, and then put them away until in the frames, 
and after that show them together as you see fit. 

[They should be] sold to some Western museum. 

As quick sketches from nature (untouched) — you cannot 
beat them. 

[Here a pen-and-ink sketch of a man blowing his own 
trumpet vigorously.] 

I will take $400 net for the lot. 

Yours very truly, 

Winslow Homer. 

P. S. Will you please acknowledge receipt of these draw- 
ings when you receive them ? 


From the watercolor hi the collection of Mrs. J. J. Storrow, 

Boston. Photograph by Chester A . Lawrence 


From the watercolor in the collection of Mr. Desmond 

FitzGerald, Brookline, Massachusetts. Photograph by 

Chester A . Lawrence 



r.isra"VvroA .iv •\'>«3s\-j 


Why do you not sell that " High Cliff" picture? I cannot 
do better than that. Why should I paint ? 

ScARBORO, Me., Oct. 29, igo2. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — When you receive the two paintings from 
Des Moines please let me know, as I wish to place them in 
some other locality in order that I may make room for " the 
O'Brien picture." This one will be quite enough to show, 
and the people who are in the clean-up of October com may 
be able to buy it, but no others, as the price will be too high. 
This is the only picture that I have been interested in for 
the past year, and as I have kept you informed about it, and 
promised it to you to manage, I will now say that the long- 
looked-for day arrived, and from 6 to 8 o'clock A. M. I 
painted from nature on this "O'B.," finishing it, — mak- 
ing the fourth painting on this canvas of two hours each. 

This is the best picture of the sea that I have painted. 

The price that you will charge is five thousand dollars — 
$5000. The price net to me will be $4000. 

This may be the last as well as the best picture. 

I have rents enough to keep me out of the poorhouse. 

Now all you have to do in reply to this is to notify me 
when you get the two pictures back from Des Moines, and 
I will then tell you what to do with them, and send the 
" O'B." picture. 

Yours respectfully, 

Winslow Homer. 

P. S. I found that I had very few drawings, but they will 
go to you to-morrow. They have been ready for some time. 

W. Homer. 


Nov. 6, 1902. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — I am in receipt of your favor of Nov. 3rd. 
Please take out of its frame "The Gulf Stream" ; pack it in 
a strong case, not more than three inches deep, with a cover 
put on with screws. Ship it to me at [Rubber stamp giving 
his name and address here.] 

Directly I receive it I will put into the case the O'B. Gem, 
and ship it to you. 

In the meantime you will please put the frame in good 

The two pictures are the same size. 

If I find there is any difference in the size of the two can- 
vases I will telegraph you, and have the frame whittled to 
suit, so there will be no delay in putting the canvas in the 
frame, as it is safer there. 

When I send the picture I will give you the few wishes 
I have in the matter of the exhibition. It will only concern 
its protection from being used by others before it is widely 

I wish it sent to the Union League Club, New York, under 
your protection, for the loan exhibition of American artists. 
I will get an invitation for that purpose. 

Yours truly, 

Winslow Homer. 

ScARBORO, Me., Nov. 14, 1902. 

M. O'Brien & Son, 

Gentlemen, — The O'B. leaves here by the American 
Express at 3 P. M. 

If it is damp when you receive [it] and the canvas wob- 
bles, do not key it up, as the keys are glued in to the 


stretcher, and everything is in perfect order. Just put it in a 
warm room. 

There was a sleet storm yesterday, but beautiful to-day, 
so I start O'B., and glad to get it out of my sight before I 
finish it too highly and spoil it. 

I hope the original member of your firm is still alive, after 
all these tedious years of waiting, and that he will be on 
hand to greet the O'B. 

Yours truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

This series of letters gives a peep behind the scenes, as it 
were, affording a glimpse of the processes and difficulties 
involved in the making of a marine picture. It is an illus- 
tration of the artistic conscientiousness of the painter, of his 
persistency, and the long-continued absorption of his whole 
mind on the one purpose before him. " Early Morning after 
Storm at Sea " was exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, Pitts- 
burgh, in 1903. It has a high horizon line, indicating that 
the painter's view-point was close to the water, and there is 
a grand wave just breaking on the rocks close at hand. The 
clouds in the east are breaking and the surface of the sea is 
all ablaze with the light of the sun, which has just emerged 
after the storm. The painting is now in the collection of Mr. 
W. K. Bixby of St. Louis. 

Another gratifying official honor was bestowed on Homer 
in 1902. This came to him from the Pennsylvania Academy 
of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, the oldest art institution in 
the country, where the Temple gold medal was awarded to 
him for his painting entitled "A Northeaster," which, as 
well as that other masterpiece from his hand, entitled " The 
Maine Coast," then belonged to Mr. George A. Hearn of 


New York. The Temple Trust Fund, created by the late 
Joseph E. Temple, yields an annual income of eighteen 
hundred dollars for the purchase of works of art by Ameri- 
cans, at the discretion of the directors of the Academy, and 
for the issuance of a gold medal by the painters' jury of 

A short time after this medal had been sent to him. Homer 
walked into Doll & Richards's store in Boston, and attended 
to some matters of business ; when about to leave, he asked 
one of the men to get him a postage stamp, as he had a letter 
in his hand which he wished to post. The request having 
been complied with. Homer put his hand in his trousers 
pocket to get some change with which to pay for the stamp. 
He fished out a key, a button-hook, some coppers, and vari- 
ous other small things, among which was the Temple gold 
medal 1 It must not be supposed, however, that he was indif 
ferent or unappreciative. On the contrary, the honors that 
came thick and fast in the last years were thoroughly wel- 
come, especially when, as in this instance, they implied the 
recognition of his fellow-artists. A gold medal from the jury 
of the Charleston (South Carolina) exposition was received 
the same year, 1902. " Cannon Rock " was the picture ex- 
hibited there. 

Mr. Emerson McMillin's pictures, thirty-nine in number, 
were exhibited in the spring at the Lotos Club, New York. 
Almost all of them were American works, and the gem of the 
collection was Homer's " Storm-Beaten " (or, as it has been 
sometimes catalogued, "Weather-Beaten"). The "Art In- 
terchange," commenting on this work, said : " This artist's 
passion for the sublime swelling of a billow to its breaking 
point often restricts him to this motif as the whole picture, 
with the result that a painting of his often has the suggestion 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 


of a magnificent detail. Here there is more sense of the sea, 
and the color is a delicious blue." 

At the sixty-fifth exhibition of the Boston Art Club, Homer 
exhibited his " Hunter with Dog, North Woods." This is the 
Adirondacks subject, an oil painting, now well known under 
the tide of " Huntsman and Dogs," and is in the collection 
of Mrs. Bancel La Farge. The figure of the hunter is shown 
standing in the centre of the foreground, near the stump of 
a great tree. The outline of the upper part of a mountain 
forms the horizon, and the sky is bleak and cold. 

At the sixty-sixth exhibition of the Boston Art Club (wa- 
tercolors). Homer exhibited " The Pioneer." My catalogue 
marginal notes are as follows : — 

" Violent and crude, but pungent and powerful. Vivid 
light. Fresh and crisp. Cool, bracing air. Sharp opposition 
of light and shade. Aspect of morning newness. Personal 
accent. A rough bit of country." 

"A High Sea" (or "Watching the Breakers") was ex- 
hibited at the sixty-seventh exhibition of the Boston Art Club, 
in 1903 ; and "Inland Water, Bermuda," a watercolor, was 
exhibited at the sixty-eighth exhibition of the same club in 
the spring of the same year. 

Early in December, 1903, we find Homer in New York, 
making ready to go to Key West, Florida, by sea, for the 
winter, as appears from the following note to his brother : — 

Dec. $th, 1903. 

Dear Arthur, — I decide to go direct to Key West. I 
have stateroom 20, upper deck, "Sabine," go on board to- 
night, leave early Sunday morning. I know the place quite 
well, and it's near the points in Florida that I wish to visit. 
I have an idea at present of doing some work, but do not 


know how long that will last. At any rate I will once more 
have a good feed of goat flesh and smoke some good cigars 
and catch some red snappers. I shall return through Florida 
and by May be at Scarboro. 

Yours affectionately, 




1904-1908. ^tat. 68-72 

"Kissing the Moon" — An Unfinished Picture — Atlantic City — Ad- 
vancing Age — " I no Longer Paint " — " Early Evening " — " Cape Trin- 
ity " — The Loan Exhibition in Pittsburgh — First Serious Sickness — 

KISSING the Moon '' is the quaint title given to an 
oil painting dated 1904. This canvas, forty by thirty 
inches in dimensions, is in the collection of Mr. Louis 
A. Stimson of New York. Three men in a small boat are only 
in part visible, the boat itself being all but hid by a great 
wave in the foreground. The sea is rough, and a wave which 
is relieved against the horizon appears to just touch with its 
crest the lower rim of the full moon. We catch a glimpse of 
the stem of the boat, and the head and shoulders only of the 
two men who are rowing are to be seen. The men wear sou'- 
westers and oilskins. The helmsman is visible almost to his 
waist. The bow of the craft rises as the stern settles in the 
trough of the waves. Although so much of the boat is con- 
cealed, the impression of its buoyancy is strongly conveyed. 
The novelty of the design is sufficiently suggested by this 
description of it. The picture was engraved for " The Critic," 
New York, April, 1905, and for the "Gazette des Beaux- 
Arts," Paris, volume 51-2, page 330, 1909, where it figured 
under the title " Le Baiser de la Lune." In the New York 
memorial exhibition of 191 1 it was named "Sunset and 


In the art department of the Louisiana Purchase Expo- 
sition, at St. Louis, 1904, there were three works by Wins- 
low Homer, two oil paintings and one watercolor. "Early 
Morning" was lent by Messrs. Knoedler & Company of New 
York; "Weather-Beaten" was lent by Mr. McMillin of New 
York ; and the watercolor drawing entitled " Snake in the 
Grass" was lent by Mr. J. C. NicoU of New York. A gold 
medal was awarded to the artist. 

"Below Zero," painted in 1894, was exhibited in 1904 at 
the sixty-ninth exhibition of the Boston Art Club. 

Much of the painter's time was devoted to watercolors, and 
some of the most admirably crisp and condensed improvisa- 
tions of scenes in Florida and the Adirondacks bear the date 
of 1904. Nothing could be more in tune with the medium 
than these unrevised, swift, limpid, and resonant drawings, 
in which the spontaneous working of mind, eyes, and hand 
appears as natural and easy as the flight of a bird. Referring 
to two of the Adirondacks subjects that he had sent to Doll 
& Richards in July, 1904, Homer wrote to the firm asking 
for a receipt, " as I value them highly." He goes on to say : 
" I could make a fine picture by combining the two in an 
oil painting," and he inserts in the middle of the sentence a 
rough pen sketch of two canoes meeting. A month later he 
returns to the subject in another letter to Doll & Richards, in 
which he says : — 

" Having sold a picture after waiting a year and a half, 
I now propose painting another, and, as that subject of the 
Rapids, Upper Saguenay River, is the most easy thing, as I 
have many studies of the subject, — and even a trip up there 
at this time of the year is not a bad thing, — I will ask you 
to send me the three drawings lately submitted to you." 

The proposed painting of the Rapids was not to be fin- 

[Facsimile of a letter from IVinsloiu Homer to the author.'] 

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ished. It stood on an easel for several years in the studio, 
but because the painter did not wish to complete it without 
going to the Upper Saguenay once more, it was left un- 
finished at the time of his death. It was shown in the New 
York memorial exhibition of 191 1 under the title of " Shoot- 
ing the Rapids." Changes in the scale and pose of one of the 
three figures in the birch-bark canoe were required, and some 
chalk marks show what these were to have been. The work 
in its present condition is especially interesting to painters, 
as illustrating methods. It was not carried beyond the block- 
ing-in stage, but it would have been a wonderful picture had 
it been completed, for we know with what a rush and sweep 
the foreground water would have borne the frail canoe into 
the boiling rapids, and how the suspense and excitement 
of the action depicted would have been brought home to the 

Homer passed the winter of 1904-1905 in Florida, but he 
found it too cold there to do any work outdoors. He re- 
turned to Front's Neck, as usual, early in the spring. A 
series of his watercolors was exhibited at the Knoedler gal- 
leries in New York in April. This collection contained fish- 
ing subjects from the Province of Quebec and the Adiron- 
dacks, with a few tropical compositions. "Sharks" appears 
to have been a variation on the theme of "The Gulf Stream," 
as it had for its chief feature a derelict abandoned after a 
cyclone in the Caribbean Sea, and a school of sharks, as in 
the oil painting, were hovering around the wrecked craft, on 
board of which, however, there was no sign of life. Among 
the sporting motives were "Man Fishing in the Adiron- 
dacks," " Black Bass, Florida," " In the Rapids," " Blue Ledge 
of the Hudson," "Ouananiche — A Good Pool," "Channel 
Bass," etc. A curious conceit of the artist was noticed in the 


last-named work, which showed a fish outlined against the 
blue waters of the sea. A string of bottles lay in the fore- 
ground ; they were placed there evidently to show the rela- 
tive size of the fish. " If any one in Maine buys the picture," 
said Homer, "I will remove the bottles." 

In the last week in June he started for the North Woods 
Club, at Minerva, Essex County, New York, for a fortnight 
of fishing and sketching. Writing to Doll & Richards under 
date of June 24, 1905, he says : — 

" I leave to-morrow for the North Woods Club, Minerva, 
Essex Co., N. Y., but my address is still Scarboro, Me. No- 
thing will be forwarded to me. I return in two weeks. When 
I gave you the price yesterday I forgot m}' favorite picture 
for my own collection, and that is 'The Pirate Boat' [here is 
inserted a sketch of the composition] , which I now reserve. 
A very blue sky. Please send it immediately to Scarboro, 

His correspondence with Doll & Richards reveals the fact 
that he occasionally asked the privilege of buying back his 
own watercolors. In 1906 he bought "The Club Canoe," a 
Canadian subject, for which he sent his check. 

He passed a portion of the winter of 1905-1906 at Atlantic 
City. He could keep warm there, and found the material 
comforts grateful to him. Writing from the Hotel Rudolf, 
under date of Dec. 23, 1905, to his younger brother, he said : 

I have not j'et settled for the winter, but I like this place 
so much that I shall stay another week, if not longer. I have 
such a fine room on the south side, first story, European 
plan, — no crowd. The board walk about forty feet wide and 
three miles long. No snow yet. I consider it the best place 
for an old man that I have seen. You should see them being 


wheeled about in the bath chairs [drawing] with their pink 
cheeks and white hair, and gathered up in sheltered comers 
reading the papers. It would be very slow for a man who 
cares to be doing anything but loaf and be waited on. You 
have until you are seventy years old before you would think 
of this kind of thing. I wish you a Merry Christmas and 
Happy New Year. AfE'ly, 


On the same date he wrote to his nephew, Charles Lowell 
Homer, as follows : — 

" After seeing a tramp steamer burn up this morning (out 
at sea), I had a quiet half-hour to think of my relations, 
knowing they were not on board, and I made a draft of my 
impression of things in the way of a Christmas greeting to 
them. On looking at it now, the design of that stick-pin is 
too good not to send you, and the other part is all right." 

He enclosed a sketch of the stick-pin, which he thought 
would be a very appropriate present for his nephew, but in 
case he might prefer something else he also enclosed a check 
" to boom things along while you are waiting for pay day." 
This was but one of many similar evidences of his thought- 
fulness for others and of his strong family feeling. 

In several letters written in 1906, 1907, and 1908, Homer 
alluded to his purpose to quit painting for good. This de- 
termination, to which, however, he did not adhere consist- 
ently, and of which he, characteristically, offered no explana- 
tion, at first puzzled me not a little. I could not understand 
how a successful painter, in the enjoyment of good health, 
and with no family cares or responsibilities, could tolerate 
the idea of giving up his work. The theory which would 
account for his attitude in the manner most honorable to 


him is in effect as follows : It is quite possible tliat, in the 
intervals between the severe efforts which his oil paintings 
cost him, he felt a sense of despondency, partly due to the 
reaction from the excitement and nervous strain of creative 
labor, during which he felt that he had done his best work, 
and that in future he might retrograde. He doubtless knew 
that many an artist has outlived himself, so to speak, con- 
tinuing to produce work after passing his high-water mark 
of quality, and degenerating into a maker of pot-boilers ; 
and he was determined that this should not happen in his 
own case. He was true to himself ; conscious of the high 
value of his gifts ; he would not, for all that the world had 
to offer in the way of emoluments, trifle with the sacred fire 
that had been committed to his charge, or debase his art to 
any other than the high plane of dignity on which he had 
always maintained it. It was not in him to delude or to flat- 
ter himself on this or on any other point. He knew that with 
advancing age the keenest eyesight, the steadiest hand, the 
most resolute will must some day betray the slow or sudden 
processes of impairment and decay ; and the knowledge 
brought some natural bitterness of spirit. Thus he could 
write, in an hour of despondency, those sad and strange 
words, " I care nothing for art. I no longer paint. I do not 
wish to see my name in print again." ^ 

These were not the words of a disappointed artist. On all 
sides the evidences of his spreading fame and of the increas- 

' ScARBORO, Maine, July 4, 1907. 
My dear Mister or Madam Leila Mechlin, — I thank you sincerely for 
your interest in proposing an article on my work. Perhaps you think that I am 
still painting and interested in art. That is a mistake. I care nothing for art. 
I no longer paint. I do not wish to see my name in print again. 

Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. George A . 

Hearn, New York 


ing demand for his pictures had never been more numerous 
or more emphatic. " The Gulf Stream " had been bought by 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, only a year be- 
fore, under circumstances peculiarly gratifying to the artist. 
Every public art museum in the country had already ob- 
tained or was in the market seeking for his works. " High 
Cliff, Coast of Maine," belonging to Mr. William T. Evans, 
was exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, and at 
the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 
and was later presented to the National Gallery of Art, 
Washington. " Cloud Shadows " and " Sparrow Hall, New- 
castle-on-Tyne " were exhibited at the eleventh annual in- 
ternational exhibition of the Carnegie Institute in the same 
year. " Early Evening," now in the celebrated collection of 
Mr. Charles L. Freer of Detroit, and which was begun as 
early as 1881, in Tynemouth, was also completed and sold 
to Mr. Freer this same year. Finally, the Carnegie Insti- 
tute was making preparations for a great loan exhibition of 
Homer's works to be opened in the spring of 1908. 

It must be admitted that it is carrying originality far to 
ttim one's back upon Fortune when she is smiling on one in 
her most engaging manner. 

" Early Evening " is a composition of three figures which 
is a composite of English figures in a New England setting. 
The two young women at the right centre are unquestion- 
ably from studies made at Tynemouth in 1882, for the same 
plump models appear in more than one of the Tynemouth 
series of watercolors. Outlined sharply against the sky, these 
figures have something of the plastic quality of a sculptured 
g^oup. The gentle sea breeze moves their skirts and aprons 
as they stand on a ledge overlooking the ocean. These 
young women are not nervous types ; they are almost phleg- 


matic, and their natural reposefulness of bearing was one 
of the qualities that doubtless recommended them to the 
painter. One of them is knitting, and the other apparently 
has placed her right arm about her companion's waist. Lower 
in the picture, and at the left, is the upper half of the form of 
an old salt carrying a spy-glass. The rocks and junipers are 
as obviously those of Prout's Neck as the human types are 
those of Tynemouth. 

The oil painting entitled " Cape Trinity, Saguenay River, 
Moonlight," was begun in 1904, but it was not finished until 
the winter of 1906-1907, possibly later. It depicts a great 
promontory with numerous rounded ledges which juts out 
from the right and occupies a large part of the canvas. At 
its base is the river, which reflects the dark mass and winds 
around the point of the cape at the left. On the distant shore 
at the left there are ranges of hills against the low horizon. 
The sky is cloudy. A quarter moon just above the headland 
is reflected in the dark water in the foreground. The work 
is in the collection of Mr. Burton Mansfield, of New Haven, 
Connecticut. Mr. Mansfield informs me that when he called 
on Homer at Prout's Neck in the autumn of 1904, he was at 
work on this picture. The artist told Mr. Mansfield that there 
was a gentleman who had shown some interest in it, and 
might perhaps buy it, but that if he did not, he (Homer) 
would put his boot through it. The picture is twenty-nine 
by forty-eight and one half inches in dimensions. Inscribed 
on the back of the stretcher are the words : " This is to cer- 
tify that I painted this picture of Cape Trinity. Winslow 
Homer, June, 1909." 

In the Philadelphia watercolor exhibition, held at the 
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in the spring of 
1906, there were nine works by Homer, as follows : " A Good 


Pool," " Channel Bass," " Hudson River at Blue Ledge," 
"Black Bass, Florida," "Building a Smudge," "Pike," 
"Trout and Float," "View from Prospect Hill, Bermuda," 
" Herring Fishing." 

The unique feature of the twelfth annual exhibition at the 
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, in the spring of 1908, was the 
special group of works by Winslow Homer, loaned by public 
and private galleries for the occasion. Twenty-two oil paint- 
ings were brought together by Mr. Beatty in this collection, 
such a group of Homer's pictures as never had been seen in 
one place. The group was hung in a gallery by itself, with 
every canvas on the line, and thus displayed to the utmost 
possible advantage. Here were to be seen " Hark I the Lark," 
lent by the Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; 
" Hound and Hunter," lent by Mr. Louis Ettlinger, New 
York; "The Fisher Girl," lent by Mr. Burton Mansfield, 
New Haven, Connecticut; "The Wreck," belonging to the 
permanent collection of the Carnegie Institute ; '• On a Lee 
Shore," owned by the Rhode Island School of Design, Provi- 
dence; " A Light on the Sea," from the permanent collection 
of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington ; " Early Even- 
ing," from Mr. Charles L. Freer's collection; "The Fox 
Hunt," belonging to the permanent collection of the Penn- 
sylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia ; " The 
Gulf Stream," " Cannon Rock," and " Searchlight : Harbor 
Entrance, Santiago de Cuba," from the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art, New York; "Sunset, Saco Bay, — The Coming 
Storm," from the Lotos Club, New York; "The Gale," from 
the private collection of Mrs. B. Ogden Chisolm, New York ; 
" Banks Fishermen," from the private collection of Mr. Charles 
W. Gould, New York ; " Undertow," from Mr. Edward D. 
Adams's collection, New York ; the " Huntsman and Dog," 


from Mrs. Bancel La Farge's collection ; the " Flight of Wild 
Geese," from the collection of Mrs. Roland C. Lincoln of 
Boston; "The Lookout — All's Well," and "The Fog 
Warning" from the permanent collection of the Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston; "The Maine Coast," lent by Mr. C. J. 
Blair of Chicago ; " The Two Guides," from the same collec- 
tion ; and the " High Cliff, Coast of Maine," from the per- 
manent collection of the National Galler}'^ of Art, Washington. 

One of the remarkable things about this list is that it was 
so largely made up of pictures owned by the public art mu- 
seums of America. Eight museums were represented by no 
less than eleven pictures, — just one half of the entire collec- 
tion. In the history of the art of painting in America it would 
be quite impossible to find another living artist with such a 
number of his works in public collections. The exhibition in 
Pittsburg constituted the first serious attempt to bring to- 
gether enough of the painter's representative canvases to 
give an adequate idea of what the man stood for in art, and 
it was an overwhelming demonstration of his originality, 
power, and distinction. 

The picture owned by Mr. Blair of Chicago and catalogued 
in the Pittsburg exhibition as the "Maine Coast" was not 
the work properly and usually called by this name, but the 
" Coast in Winter," which was acquired by Mr. Blair at the 
sale of the Clarke collection in 1899. The catalogue con- 
tained a small portrait of the artist and reproductions on a 
small scale of " The Two Guides," " Huntsman and Dog," 
and the " High ClifE, Coast of Maine." 

Dr. George Woodward loaned to the sixth annual Phila- 
delphia watercolor exhibition, held jointly by the Pennsyl- 
vania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Wa- 
tercolor Club, in 1908, four of Homer's Works, namely: 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 


" Prout's Neck, Maine," " The Spanish Flag," " Prout's Neck, 
Maine," and " Volante." One of the Prout's Neck subjects 
was illustrated in the catalogue, and appears to have been 
the broadest kind of a sketch. 

In the early summer of 1908 Homer suffered the first seri- 
ous sickness of his life, the precursor of what was to come 
two years later. One morning he made his appearance at 
Arthur B. Homer's cottage, and appeared to be very shaky. 
He said : — 

" I don't know what 's the matter with me. I have been 
two hours getting dressed and getting over here." 

He was giddy ; his eyesight was affected ; and he could 
not do much with his hands. He would reach for his teacup 
and miss it b}' some inches, showing that his vision was im- 
paired. His brother persuaded him to stay with him for a 
while, and he consented. He remained there for about two 
weeks. At the end of that time Arthur went to Winslow's 
bedroom quite early one morning to see how he was feeling, 
and found that he had gone. There was a note on the desk 
in the living-room : — 

I am well, and have quit. 


His brother did not see him again for forty-eight hours. 
He had resumed work in the studio. He soon recovered 
sufficiendy to make a trip to the Adirondacks. Under date 
of June 15, 1908, he wrote to me : — 

My dear Mr. Downes, — Two weeks ago I found my- 
self utterly unable to write a single word, but I am rapidly 
recovering the power to do so. 

I cheerfully acknowledge my great obligations to you, and 


I will answer your letter at length when I return from the 
Adirondacks in about a month. 

I am told not to write too much, at present, and I will 

I am very well all but this. I am all packed up and go by 
way of Montreal, Canada. 

Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

After his return from the Adirondacks, in August, he wrote 
as follows : — 

ScARBORO, Maine, Augt., 1908. 

Mr. William Howe Downes, 

Dear Sir, — I returned here last Thursday, and I will 
now answer your letter of June 13th. 

It may seem ungrateful to you that after your twenty-five 
years of hard work in booming my pictures I should not 
agree with you in regard to that proposed sketch of my life. 

But I think that it would probably kill me to have such 
[a] thing appear, and, as the most interesting part of my 
life is of no concern to the public, I must decline to give 
you any particulars in regard to it. 

I am making arrangements to live as long as my father 
and both my grandfathers, all of them over eighty-five. 

By that you may understand that I have given up paint- 
ing /or £-ood. 

No painter's colic for me. I have much to see and do in 
these few years, but pictures are out of it. 

I should like very much to do you some favor for old 
times' sake. I will think up something. 
Yours very truly, 

WiNSLOw Homer. 


To a young girl in Chicago who had sent to him asking 
for his autograph he wrote the following letter : — 

ScAKBORO, Maine, Sept. 10, 1908. 

My dear Miss Young, — You are certainly very kind 
to write me this interesting letter, and I am quite sure that 
after hearing Prof. Zug you are on the right track, if you 
wish in any way to follow in my footsteps in matters of art. 
It is some time since you wrote that letter asking for the 
autograph, but I have only just received the letter from 
Minerva. I was there for a month in the spring, but my 
only address is Scarboro, Maine. 

I now take pleasure in sending you the autograph. 

WiNSLOw Homer. 

With great respect, to Miss Margaret L. Young. 

Early in the winter of 1 908-1 909 he went to Bermuda for 
several months' stay. He seemed to gain strength, but he 
was never quite the same man physically as he had been 
previous to the sickness of the summer of 1908. For the 
most part he now stuck to his resolution to leave painting 
alone, except that he made a few watercolors. As will be 
noticed, he clung with peculiar pertinacity to his purpose of 
prolonging his life. He began to look like an old man, how- 
ever, and showed traces of suffering. 

His brother Arthur tried in vain to persuade him to make 
a list of his pictures and their whereabouts. Asked if he knew 
where his works were, and who owned them, he replied that 
he knew where most of them were. 

" Well, then," said his brother, " why won't you make a 

" Why should I, so long as I know ? " 


" But nobody else will know after you are gone." 

" After I am dead I shan't care." 

Writing to the same brother in November to acknowledge 
a gift of cigars, to decline an invitation to spend Thanksgiv- 
ing with him, and to report that he was again at work paint- 
ing, he took occasion to playfully pay his respects to that 
Boston institution, " The Evening Transcript : " — 

November 19, 1909. 
(Or, as you would say, S. T. i860 X.) 

Dear Arthur, — I rec'd the cigars with thanks. As I 
must write to acknowledge the cigars, I may as well say 
that I cannot accept your invitation to Thanksgiving, — 
which, as the old maid "Boston Transcript" would say, was 
to be expected in the " near future." I call it soon. And so, 
also quoting that same newspaper, which originated the say- 
ing " tkanktjzg you in advance," and again quoting that old 
maid newspaper, I am still thanking j^ou for " that long felt 
want" — the cigars. 

I breakfast at seven every [morning]. I have little time 
for anything; many letters unanswered, and work unfinished. 
I am painting. I am just through work at 3.30. Cannot give 
you any more time. 

W. Homer. 


From the oil painting in the collection of 

Mrs. H. W. Rogers 


^^^^^^H^^^^^^^' ^n 


^^^^^^^m- ^HL 









1908-1910. ^tat. "Jz-JJf 

Aversion to Notoriety — The Rubber-Stamp Signature — Characteristic 
Sayings — Mural Paintings — "Right and Left" — "Driftwood" — For- 
eign Opinion — Dread of Counterfeiters — Mr. Macbeth' s Visit — Questions 
that were Ne^'er Answered. 

WITH advancing age the grooves of habit are deep- 
ened, and Winslow Homer's reluctance to consort 
with people was never more pronounced than dur- 
ing the last years of his life. He had become a celebrity in 
spite of himself ; but with the widening of his fame his aver- 
sion to notoriety became all the stronger. He refused to be 
lionized. He accepted homage with small grace. He re- 
ceived compliments with unconcealed coolness. For flattery 
he had nothing but silent contempt. He did not want to be 
bothered ; he wanted to be let alone ; there are a thousand 
and one little things in the daily lives of most folk which he 
could and did gladly eliminate from his existence as futile 
and foolish. The ultimate expression of his enthusiasm for a 
work of art which appealed to him was : " That is a good 
thing." He loathed superlatives ; wasted no words ; and had 
a holy horror of bores. The one thing that saved him from 
becoming downright misanthropic at times was the Yankee 
sense of humor which enabled him to see the comical side 
of humanity's unbounded capacity for rambling and earnest 

As he seldom arranged to have his mail forwarded to him 


when he was away from home, there would often be a batch 
of fifty or sixty letters awaiting him on his return to Front's 
Neck. If the weather was fine and he was interested in mak- 
ing a picture, he would let the mail lie on his desk unopened 
until there came a rainy day, when he would turn his atten- 
tion to his correspondence. Requests from strangers for his 
autograph annoyed him. Finally his younger brother had a 
rubber stamp made and presented it to him, saying, " Here, 
Win, now you can get even with the autograph fiends." 
He accepted the suggestion, and actually used it in lieu of 
his own signature in some cases. 

Among the letters that he received from admiring and in- 
quisitive women was one asking him what was "in that bar- 
rel" aboard the dory, in the picture of "The Fog Warning." 
In telling of this he made no comment in words. 

As a j'oung man, Mr. Baker says Homer was "as fine as 
silk," meaning that he was fastidious, having a vein of aris- 
tocratic feeling, or, to put it in the gracious French phrase, 
was une nature d' elite. This is the testimony of one who 
stood exceptionally close to him, and one who, besides, was 
by nature and training a keen observer. To a man of Homer's 
temperament it is but a measure of instinctive self-defense to 
erect invisible barriers against easy intimacies, to tacidy ig- 
nore many of the petty interests which complicate existence 
needlessly and stand in the way of concentration. 

Emerson understood the type. Many of the things he 
wrote in his essays describe Homer, and might well have 
been written about him personally. Speaking of the neces- 
sity of solitude, he says we are " driven, as with whips, into 
the desert." But there is danger in this seclusion. " Now 
and then a man exquisitely made can live alone and must ; 
but coop up most men and you undo them." Again he 


says : " Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius 
the stem friend, the cold, obscure shelter, where moult the 
wings which will bear it farther than suns and stars." In 
another place Emerson writes : " I count him a great man 
who inhabits a higher sphere of thought into which other 
men rise with labor and difficulty ; he has but to open his 
eyes to see things in a true light and in large relations'' The 
italics are mine. And yet again, — as if he were actually 
thinking of Winslow Homer, — " he is great who is what he 
is from nature, and who never reminds us of others." 

Winslow Homer has been compared with Walt Whitman 
more than once. Aside from the Americanism of the two 
men, as inarticulate in Homer's case as it is vocal in Whit- 
man's, I can see but little likeness in their characters. Why 
compare Homer with any man ? He was unique. He never 
reminds us of others. 

If it is commonly the fate of greatness to be misunderstood, 
Winslow Homer was a happy exception to the rule. The sin- 
cere and unanimous and unfaltering admiration of the artists 
of America for his work was his from his very debut as a 
painter, and it was generously shared by the American critics, 
picture buyers, and even the public at large. He was under- 
stood, admired, and loved. Indeed, there was every reason 
why this should be so. There was nothing recondite, obscure, 
or occult in his art : it was made not for a special clientele 
of cultured cognoscenti, but for the man in the street, and 
it had in it the large, homely truthfulness, the modesty of 
nature, that appeals to the mind and heart of humanity, 
gentle and simple. To be understood is a great happiness 
for the artist, and this satisfaction came early to Homer and 
stayed to the end. Perhaps we do not yet realize how great 
a man he was, but it is pleasant to reflect that he was not 


neglected, and that, as such things go in our day and coun- 
try, the measure of his success was as exceptional in its com- 
pleteness as it was prompt in point of time. 

Mr. Chase, in his reminiscences,^ speaks of Homer as "a 
charming companion, not effusive, witty and racy in his con- 
versation. The wrinkles around the eyes in this somewhat 
austere face recorded the rare humor that had helped as a 
solvent to the difficult things in life which I feel that he must 
have known." His words were often open to an ironical in- 
terpretation, and one could not always make sure whether 
he was speaking seriously or, as the pithy slang phrase has 
it, " through his hat." Mr. Bernard De Vine, a young artist, 
who spent a season at Front's Neck, tells me that not long 
ago a New York gentleman of an adventurous disposition 
traveled all the way to Scarboro to make Homer's acquaint- 
ance, and when he arrived there, found the studio door locked, 
and the owner absent. He wandered about the cliffs for a 
while, and presently he met a man wearing a rough old suit 
of clothes, rubber boots, and a battered felt hat, and carrying 
a fish-pole. He accosted the fisherman thus : — 

"I say, my man, if you can tell me where I can find Wins- 
low Homer, I have a quarter here for you." 

Instantly the fisherman replied : " Where 's your quarter ? " 

He handed it over : and was astounded to hear the quiz- 
zical Yankee fisherman say : " I am Winslow Homer." The 
sequel of this novel meeting was that Homer took the enter- 
prising person up to the studio, entertained him, and, before 
he left, sold him a picture. 

To Mr. De Vine I am also indebted for the following in- 
cident : Father H., the Catholic priest who officiated at the 
little chapel at Front's Neck that summer, knocked at the 
1 In Harper's Weekly, October 22, 1910. 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington 

Watercolor in the permanent collection of the Cincin- 
nati Museum Association. Painted at Key West 



door of the studio late one evening. Homer came to the door 
and stormed at him for presuming to disturb him at that 
hour. "Why," said he, "even my own brothers do not dare 
to disturb me at this time of night." 

" But," said the young clergyman, sweetly, " I am not 
your brother, Mr. Homer ; I am your Father." 

Homer smiled, softened, let him in, and by and by sent 
him home with a generous gift for the little chapel. 

There is something very attractive about these bitter-sweet 

Some of Homer's sarcasms were severe. Mr. De Vine 
asked him if he had heard that Mr. J., a mediocre artist, had 
quit painting and gone into business. He looked at the 
young man a moment, and then said dryly: "When did he 
ever begin painting ? " 

At another time he was told that two well-known New 
York landscape painters were sketching in the neighbor- 
hood, and he growled, "What are those amateurs doing 
around here?" But when I repeated this remark to his 
brother, he said : "That was not like him." He was usually 
courteous and kindly towards his professional brethren, and 
had a becoming esprit de corps. 

When Homer called on Mrs. Joseph De Camp, the daugh- 
ter of his old comrade Joseph E. Baker (the De Camp family 
being at Front's Neck for the summer), he told her that one 
of the mistakes of his life had been that he did not affiliate 
with "the boys," meaning the artists. He declined repeated 
invitations to dinner, and excused himself frankly on the plea 
that his teeth were in such poor case that he was not able to 
masticate his food properly. Mrs. De Camp found him " a 
very courteous old gentleman." He brought her a quaint 
nosegay of old-fashioned flowers from his garden. He also 


brought and presented to her a portrait of himself drawn in 
lead-pencil by her father, Mr. Baker, in 1857, in Boston, at 
the time when they had been fellow-apprentices at the Buf- 
ford lithograph shop ; and this drawing, made when Homer 
was a youth of twenty-one, Mrs. De Camp has kindly loaned 
to the publishers of this volume for reproduction. It is un- 
doubtedly the earliest existing portrait of Homer. 

In 1908 Homer wrote to Mr. Charles A. Green of Rochester, 
New York, that during his absence from his studio at Front's 
Neck in the winter, thieves broke in and carried off much 
that was of value. His lament was greatest over the loss of a 
watch which had been given him by his mother, long since 
dead. He made a drawing of the dial of this watch, which 
was of an unusual character, and enclosed it in his letter. 

A woman artist had made a copy of a fine old painting. 
It was such a good copy that some people went so far as to 
say that they could not tell the original from the copy. The 
artist suggested to Charles S. Homer that he should show 
the copy to Winslow, without telling him anything about it, 
in order to see what he would have to say of it. This was 
done. Winslow Homer, after examining the canvas, some- 
what deliberately, said : — 

"This is a copy, made by a woman, after an original 
which may be a good thing." 

When the woman artist heard what he had said, she was 

" Enchanted," a painting by Homer, was in the private 
collection of the late John T. Martin of New York, which was 
sold at auction on April 15 and 16, 1909, by the American 
Art Association. The picture, twelve by twenty inches in 
dimensions, was bought by Mr. N. Strauss, for three hun- 
dred and fifty dollars. 


" The Unruly Calf," belonging to Mr. Charles A. Schieren, 
was exhibited at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences 
the same year. 

At the fourth annual exhibition of selected paintings by 
American artists, at the Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, New 
York, May 10 to August 30, 1909, "Early Evening," from 
Mr. Freer's collection, and a picture entitled " Spring " were 

We are not accustomed to thinking of Homer as a painter 
of mural decorations, nevertheless he had tried his hand at 
this difficult, and, to him, unaccustomed undertaking, and 
the subjoined passage from a letter written by Augustus 
Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor, to Charles F. McKim, the archi- 
tect, in regard to the then proposed mural decorations for 
the Boston Public Library,^ will serve to show the esteem in 
which his work was held by Edwin A. Abbey : — 

" I 've just seen Abbey again, and he is all wound up, as 
I am, about the Library business, and if anything should 
turn up, he would come back from Europe next year for it. 
We have made up a list of names, all strong men, and he 
suggests having them meet at your office next week, to pow- 
wow some evening — Wednesday, if possible. He suggests 
that White be there, and that all the photos of decorative 
work be got out, — Masaccio, Carpaccio, Benozzo Gozzoli, 
Botticelli, &c., to show and to talk over. If you think well 
of this let me know, and I '11 get the fellows together. Aside 
from La Farge, 'quiva sans dire,' and to whom undoubtedly 
the big room should be given, the following are the names 
that you should consider in this matter : Abbey, Bridgman, 
Cox, Millet, Winslow Homer (who. Abbey tells me, has done 
some bully decorative things in Harper's office that we can go 
1 In the Century Magazine for August, 1909. 


see together), and Howard Pyle. These are all strong men 
— every darned one of them." 

The mural paintings by Homer of which Mr. Abbey had 
told Mr. Saint-Gaudens were made for the business office of 
Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, New York. They were 
three in number, and represented : i. Castle Garden ; 2. 
Harper & Brothers' building and the interior of the press- 
room ; 3. The Genius of the Press. When I called at Harper 
& Brothers' establishment, in February, 191 1, and asked 
about these decorations, nobody knew anything about them, 
and, though a frieze in the office w^as shown, it apparendy 
did not include the panels by Homer. 

Homer had asked John La Farge for advice about these 
mural paintings when the commission was given to him, and 
we have La Farge's testimony as to their merits in the 
guarded statement that they were as learned as if the artist 
had consulted all necessary books. "Many people," said 
La Farge,^ " do not know that he had even thought of 
stained glass and wall decoration. He came to me late to 
consult me about these questions. The wall decoration I saw 
the project for, and it was as learned as if this man had con- 
sulted all necessary books. His glass I had no idea of. I 
doubt if he himself had any notion, but I regret that such an 
impossible thing should not have been tried. It is a great 
honor to me that he came to me once to ask, and he was 
very frank in his admiration or his criticism. . . ." 

After having abstained heroically from doing any work in 
oils for a time. Homer painted another picture in November, 
1909. The title of it is " Right and Left." The artist had 
bought a fine pair of plump wild ducks for his Thanksgiving 

' Letter from La Farge to Gustav Kobbe, published in the New York Her- 
ald, December 4, 1910. 

From Ihe oil painting in the collection of Mrs. Roland 
C. Lincoln, Boston. Photograph by Baldwin Coolidge 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Randal 

Morgan, Philadelphia 



dinner. He did not intend to make a painting of them, but 
their plumage was so handsome, he was tempted ; and before 
he got through with them his Thanksgiving dinner was 
spoiled. It may be a subject of speculation how he came to 
show the ducks in the air, above the waves, falling, as if just 
mortally wounded by a hunter. He employed his usual care- 
ful methods of observation in this case. He went out, day 
after day, in a boat, with a man who was armed with a 
double-barreled shotgun, and studied the positions and 
movements of the birds when they were shot. He had no 
title for the picture. It was sent to Knoedler & Company's 
gallery in New York ; a sportsman came in, caught a glimpse 
of the picture, and at once cried out : " Right and left ! " — 
admiring, not so much the picture per se, as the skill of the 
hunter who could bring down a bird with each barrel of his 
double-barreled shotgun in quick succession. So the work 
was christened. It was bought by Mr. Randal Morgan, who 
loaned it for exhibition at the one hundred and fifth annual 
exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 
Philadelphia, January to March, 1910. 

What proved to be his last oil painting was a canvas 
called "Driftwood," painted in the fall of 1909. It represents 
some wood drifting to the shore, a man in oilskins and sou'- 
wester going out into the water with a rope to secure it. 
This picture, twenty-eight by twenty-four inches in dimen- 
sions, was sent to Knoedler & Company, New York, in 
November, 1909, and was sold to Mr. Frank L. Babbott of 

The "Northeaster," dated 1895, was given to the Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, New York, by Mr. George A. Hearn, 
in 1910. The gift was announced in the May issue of the 
"Bulletin" of the Museum, which contained an excellent re- 


production of the canvas, and alluded to the original as " the 
magnificent ' Northeaster,' by Winslow Homer, considered by 
many to be his best work." There are so many of his best 
works 1 

" Early Morning," belonging to Mr. W. K. BLxby of St. 
Louis, Missouri, was exhibited at the fifth annual exhibition 
of selected paintings by American artists, in the Albright Art 
Gallery, Buffalo, New York, May ii to September i, 1910. 
At the summer exhibition of the Worcester Art Museum, the 
"Flight of Wild Geese," belonging to the collection of Mrs. 
Roland C. Lincoln of Boston, was exhibited. Mrs. Lincoln 
informs me that the original title of this picture was "At the 
Foot of the Lighthouse," and she thinks that this title gives 
the true explanation of the death of the birds in the fore- 

Three of Homer's oil paintings were shown at the Exhi- 
bition of American Art held at Berlin and Munich in 1910. 
In a paper on " x\merican Paintings in Germany," C. Lewis 
Hind, writing in " The International Studio " for September, 
1910, discusses this exhibition, and asks : " Can we find . . . 
any signs of a national American art ? " And his answer is 
Winslow Homer. "This old master," says Mr. Hind, "who 
is still with us — for it is as a master that I always regard 
Winslow Homer — lives, I believe, in retirement on the coast 
of Maine. I read that in daily companionship with the ocean 
he has led for many years a solitary life upon a spit of coast 
near Scarborough. Goethe says somewhere that talent is 
nurtured in a crowd, genius in solitude. And I think it must 
be due to the solitude in which Winslow Homer has lived, 
surrounded by the elemental forces of nature, that he has pro- 
duced in his big, comprehensive work something that seems 
to me entirely personal and entirely American. No one who 


has studied his pictures can doubt that they are characteris- 
tically spiritually as well as physically American and that they 
could have been painted nowhere but in America. His finest 
picture, ' Cannon Rock,' is in the Metropolitan Museum, New 
York, but this exhibition included his powerful and realistic 
' Gulf Stream ' (also called ' The Castaway '), as vigorous in 
color as in design, a result of his visit to the West Indies ; 
his marine, with the massive timbers of a wreck in the fore- 
gfround, and his strong and simple ' Lookout-Man ' sending 
his cry of 'All 's Well' through the night. . . ." 

The revelations of alleged rascality in regard to the coun- 
terfeiting and retouching of paintings by Homer Martin and 
George Inness at the time of the trial of the case of Evans 
versus Clausen in New York in 1910 made a painful im- 
pression on Winslow Homer, who had an almost morbid 
dread of something of the same sort happening to his own 
works. A . New York collector who owned two of Homer's 
paintings wrote to him saying that they were in need of 
attention, and asking him if he would be willing to examine 
them and do whatever was necessary to them. He consented, 
and the pictures were sent to him at Prout's Neck. On ex- 
amining them, he discovered that one of them had been re- 
touched by some one. He was much displeased, naturally, and 
sent that picture back to the owner, telling him that it had 
been tampered with, and declining to touch it. The other pic- 
ture, which had not been retouched, needed some slight care, 
and after attending to it, he returned it in good condition. 

"Below Zero," painted in 1894, was exhibited at the Na- 
tional Academy of Design in 1 9 10; and later in the same 
year it was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. It be- 
longed at that time to the collection of Mr. F. P. Moore of 
New York. 


Mr. William Macbeth, the picture dealer, made a visit to 
Homer in the month of Augxist, 1910, and gives this pleasant 
account of it : — 

" I shall always cherish the memory of a very delightful 
day spent as the guest of the late Winslow Homer towards the 
end of August. What proved to be his last illness had already 
laid its grip upon him, but in spite of pain he insisted on giv- 
ing himself to me, and together we roamed over his Prout's 
Neck possessions, with their many wonderful views far and 
near. He found an excuse for going to the farthest point in 
order to cut out some branches of shrubbery where insects 
were playing havoc on the grounds of one of his tenants. 
Girt with a leather belt, in which he carried a formidable 
pruning blade, he was well prepared for an even more seri- 
ous fray. 'From this point I painted "The Fox Hunt," from 
over there "The Undertow," ' and so on, pointing to the 
scene of many a familiar canvas. Several times in years past 
he had allowed me to possess quite a number of his splendid 
charcoal drawings, and although I said not a word about 
business, he knew I was always greedy for more. So, after 
luncheon, when he had asked for time to put his inner sanc- 
tum to rights, he went over all his portfolios in a vain effort 
to find sketches he would care to have seen. ' No,' he said, 
after the last portfolio was closed, ' you have had them all.' 
There were a few unframed watercolors and perhaps a dozen 
others, framed and on his walls, that stirred and delighted me 
beyond measure. He told me of their expected destination, 
and I knew that he would never part with them during his 
lifetime. He knew that his work was over, and, indeed, he 
had voluntarily abandoned it years before. He was suffi- 
ciently discerning to realize that he could not keep up to his 
highest-water mark reached a few years ago, and he was de- 


From the oil painting in the permanent collection of the 
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island 



termined that no inferior work should survive him. So there 
will be no sketch or failure to be dragged out to hurt his 
memor}'. His artistic record was made long ago, and it adds 
a brilliant chapter to the annals of truly American art." 

In 1909 I had written to Winslow Homer, enclosing a list 
of no less than fifty questions which I asked him to answer 
at his leisure. He despatched a short note acknowledging 
the receipt of my letter and promising to answer it soon ; but 
as he had not done so a year later, I wrote again in the sum- 
mer of 19 10, reminding him of his promise, and received the 
following, his last letter to me : — 

ScARBORO, Maine, Aug. 13, 1910. 

No doubt, as 3'ou say, a man is known by his works. That 
I have heard at many a funeral. And no doubt in your 
thoughts [it] occurred to you in thinking of me. Others are 
thinking the same thing. One is the Mutual Life Insurance 
Co., in which I have an annuity. But I will beat you both. 

I have all your letters, and will answer all your questions 
in time, if you live long enough. 

In reply to your recent letter I will say that I was in Tyne- 
mouth in 1881 and 1882, and worked there. 
Yours very truly, 

Winslow Homer. 

To W. H. DowNES. 

In the light of subsequent events, the grim humor of the 
allusion to the insurance company and the would-be bio- 
grapher, and the defiant prophecy, " I will beat 3'ou both," 
become tragic. Alas I my questions were never answered. 


1910. ^tat. 74 

The Last Sickness — Heart Failure — A Glorious Passing — The Funeral 
— Burial Place at Mount Auburn — His Will — The Memorial Exhibitions 
of 1 9 1 1 in New York and Boston — The Verdict. 

DURING the summer of 1910 Homer was unmistak- 
ably a sick man, but he was unwilling to give up. 
He appeared to resent inquiries after his health, 
and when his own people tried to do anything for him he 
persisted in the assertion that he was " all right," and needed 
no attention. He endured his pain in stoical silence, and ut- 
tered no complaint. His strength perceptibly though gradu- 
ally failed, and the traces of physical and mental suffering 
became more palpable as the days passed, until at last there 
came a time when even his iron spirit succumbed to the 
strain, and he was forced to take to his bed and to submit 
to those ministrations which he never would have counte- 
nanced save in the extremity of his helplessness. His brothers 
believed that he would be more comfortable and could be 
better cared for in Arthur B. Homer's cottage than in his 
own, and preparations were made to move him there ; but 
when he found that something of the sort was on the tapis 
he asked : " What are you going to do ? " And when he was 
told of the plan, he said : " I will stay in my own house." 

He stayed. There followed an anxious time ; yet, presently, 
by slow degrees, the patient seemed to be gathering strength 


again, and he looked forward to recovery, with something 
of his old optimism, speaking of his plans for the future, and 
of how he expected to enjoy the restoration of his impaired 
eyesight. He even planned the coming winter's journey to 
Florida with his elder brother, and the bass-fishing at Enter- 
prise. As September drew towards its close, with the short- 
ening days, he would chat cheerfully with his brothers, and 
review, in his half-serious and half-ironical tone, almost for- 
gotten episodes of yore, and the adventures of the happy 
fishing-grounds. Even with these loved brothers of his he 
maintained a certain reticence, a reserve which was so much 
a part of his nature that he did not know how to overcome 
it In these days they took hope ; all appeared to be going 
on well. On September 17, his nephew Arthur P. Homer 
assured me that he was convalescent, and that he had sat up 
in bed and asked " how soon he was going to be allowed to 
have a drink and a smoke." It was thought that he could be 
taken up to West Townsend, Massachusetts, there to recu- 
perate in the bracing air of the hills, at his elder brother's 
summer home, and arrangements had been partially made 
for a special car for his accommodation on the journey. 

The real or apparent improvement continued up to the 
morning of September 29, when a sudden and alarming 
change took place, and it was evident that the end was near. 
He expired at half-past one o'clock in the afternoon of the 
same day, Thursday, the twenty-ninth day of September, at 
the age of seventy-four years, seven months, and five days. 

All that love and devotion could possibly do for him had 
been done. All the resources of medical science and experi- 
ence, the services of two excellent trained nurses, the con- 
stant and tender care of his nearest and dearest relations 
were his, night and day, to the end. Both of his brothers 


were with him. The immediate cause of death was heart 

An artist is so much more alive than most men, his ceas- 
ing to live seems almost like a violation of the natural order. 
He has a special right to live, to continue living, to reap the 
harvest of his hard-won experience. No one else can carry 
forward his work. His death is the end of it. And Homer 
had the wish to live. His vitality was strong. He had little 
or no experience of sickness. He could not realize that the 
end of life was at hand. As it was, he may be said to have 
died " in the harness." He passed away in the little studio 
at Prout's Neck, where he had so long and so fruitfully 
labored, and it was a most fitting place for him to die ; it was 
like a soldier dying on the field of battle, with the flag wav- 
ing over him, a glorious passing of the brave, indomitable 

A laconic despatch sent out by the Associated Press from 
Portland apprised the American people that Winslow Homer 
was no more, and the news was received with unfeigned 
and universal sorrow from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The 
dominant note in all the hundreds of press tributes was the 
American quality in his art : that had become already so 

• The following brief history of the case is from a letter written to me by B. 
F. Wentworth, M. D., Scarboro, Maine, under date of January 23, 191 1: "I 
attended Winslow Homer during his last sickness. He came to my office with a 
history of indigestion, which had troubled him for some time, and two days 
later I was called to his cottage in the early morning, and found him nearly ex- 
hausted from the loss of blood; on close examination found he had had a rup- 
ture of a blood-vessel in the stomach and a profuse hemorrhage. This checked 
for a time, and then another hemorrhage; following the second attack, he had 
the loss of eyesight and delirium for several days; then his mind cleared, but his 
sight was lost. He made a gradual gain in strength, till he was able to sit up a 
very little; and suddenly, very much to our surprise, the heart grew very weak, 
and he died of collapse in a few hours." 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. W. K. 

Bixby, St. Louis 


widely recognized. It was proclaimed by many writers who, 
in all probability, had never seen any of his works in the 

The funeral took place at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, October 3, at half-past 
two o'clock. It was a perfect October day. In the little red- 
stone Gothic chapel a brief service was conducted by the 
Reverend Stanley White of New York, a personal friend of 
the artist, in the presence of a small company. The coffin 
was covered with roses, some of them sent by the American 
Academy of Arts and Letters. There was no music and no 
eulogy. All was over in about fifteen minutes. Following 
the service, the body was cremated, in accordance with 
Winslow Homer's wishes, and the ashes were laid in the 
family lot. 

This lot. No. 563, is on Lily Path, overlooking Consecra- 
tion Dell. It is on one of the terraced sides of a rather steep 
little hill, such as abound in Mount Auburn, and it is a lovely 
spot in summer, as there are fine old trees, a pond, shrub- 
bery, and flowers. The Homer lot is enclosed by a low red 
granite boundary mark, polished as to its upper surface, and 
in it are two simple markers of the same material, indicating 
the burial places of Winslow Homer's father and mother : 
"Charles S. Homer. 1809-1898." "Henrietta M. Homer. 

Winslow Homer's ashes have been laid alongside the 
grave of his mother, in the southeast corner of the lot. To 
reach the spot from the North Gate, one follows Central 
Avenue to the top of the first little rise, then, bearing to the 
left, Beech Avenue, Locust Avenue, and Poplar Avenue, to 
Lily Path. This is not far from the geographical centre of 
the cemetery. 


Among all the celebrated Americans whose names are as- 
sociated with this city of the dead, there are but few paint- 
ers. Felix O. C. Darley, I think, is the only one of any note 
besides Winslow Homer. There are many great and good 
men buried here — statesmen, philanthropists, men of let- 
ters, churchmen, scientists — I recall the names of Lowell, 
Longfellow, Holmes, and Aldrich, of Agassiz, Gtslj, and 
Shaler, of Motley, Prescott, and Parkman, of Everett, Choate, 
and Sumner, of Channing and Brooks, of Story, Howe, Booth, 
Willis, and of that dear old friend of my childhood and yours, 
Jacob Abbott, the author of the Rollo books ; yes, and many 
more, an illustrious roll ; but I know of no better name than 
Winslow Homer. 

It is well that his ashes should lie in this hallowed ground, 
so beautiful and sequestered, — close by the grave of his 
mother, who adored him, and in Cambridge, the home of 
his boyhood, where he learned to love the country, and where 
his great Mother Nature took him to her heart of hearts and 
taught him her secrets. 

Winslow Homer's will, which was made in 1884, was filed 
for probate at Portland in October. By it all his real and 
personal estate was left unconditionally to his brother Charles 
S. Homer of New York. The will was handsomely engrossed 
on parchment, but this was not done by the artist himself, as 
was erroneously stated at the time. In his petition for ap- 
pointment as executor Charles S. Homer certified that the 
value of the estate was not more than forty thousand dol- 
lars. There can be no doubt that Winslow Homer might 
have left a considerably larger fortune if he had not given 
away so much money. " There will be real tears shed among 
the fisherfolk of the little village of Prout's Neck, for they 
loved him as a brother," wrote the Portland correspondent 


of the "Boston American," October i, 1910; and he goes 
on to quote the simple, heartfelt benediction of the Scarboro 
postmaster when he heard of Homer's death : — 

" He was a good man and a good citizen. If any man 
had a setback he was the first to help him. He was good to 
the poor. We shall miss him for a long time to come." 

The truth and sincerity of this tribute are self-evident. Few 
eulogies, though couched in all the studied and resounding 
phrases of oratory and embellished by all the devices of 
rhetoric, could match in true eloquence these plain words. 
The memor}' of the just is blessed. 

I hope that the laudable purpose of Charles S. Homer to 
keep the little Prout's Neck studio as a memorial, and to 
throw it open in the summer months to artists and art stu- 
dents who in future may make the pilgrimage to Scarboro, 
may be found feasible and may be carried out ; and I ven- 
ture also to express the hope that the generous project which 
he has under consideration, to offer to several of the leading 
art schools of America a certain number of Winslow Homer's 
studies and sketches, now in his possession as executor, may 
be met with the cordial welcome and encouragement which 
it deserves. Such sensible and unpretentious memorials as 
these are peculiarly appropriate, and would, no doubt, have 
been approved by the most modest of artists. It is pleasant 
to think that in the days to come there will be many a young 
American art student who will gladly avail himself of the 
privilege of visiting the Prout's Neck studio, and who in 
entering it will uncover his head in instinctive homage to 
Homer, remembering, as he well may, that the strong, silent, 
stem man who lived, worked, and died in this place dedi- 
cated all his great gifts to the service of truth. 

The two cities associated with the artist's life, Boston and 


New York, the one his birthplace, the other his home for a 
quarter of a century, vying in a generous rivalry to show 
their appreciation, made haste to do him honor in the winter 
of 191 1, by the opening of memorial exhibitions in their re- 
spective art museums. These events took place simultane- 
ously, the New York exhibition opening on Monday, Febru- 
ary 6, in Gallery XX of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
and the Boston exhibition opening on the following day in 
the East Gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts. The two ex- 
hibitions did not conflict with each other, though it was com- 
monly thought that they might have been consolidated to 
advantage. The New York exhibition contained so much the 
greater number of important works, especially in oil paint- 
ings, that the impression it gave was distinctly more weighty 
and imposing than that of its friendly rival in Boston. The 
New York exhibition had been more systematically prepared 
for and more carefully planned out by a special committee 
composed of officers of the Metropolitan Museum and repre- 
sentative artists and collectors. Of this committee Mr. John 
W. Alexander, president of the National Academy of Design, 
was chairman, and with him were associated Mr. Edward 
Robinson, director of the museum, Mr. Bryson Burroughs, 
curator of paintings, Mr. Charles S. Homer, the artist's 
brother, Mr. Daniel C. French, the sculptor, Mr. Roland F. 
Knoedler, the picture dealer, Mr. Charles W. Gould and 
Mr. George A. Hearn, the collectors, and eight painters, 
namely, Mr. Edwin H.Blashfield, Mr. William M. Chase, Mr. 
Kenyon Cox, Mr. Thomas W. Dewing, Mr. Samuel Isham, 
Mr. Will H. Low, Mr. F. D. Millet, and Mr. J. Alden Weir. 
From all the available material this distinguished and expe- 
rienced body of men selected a small collection of fifty-two 
works, which admirably represented the achievement of the 

From the oil painting in the collection of Dr. Lewis A . 
Stimson, New York 


artist, and, on the whole, satisfactorily illustrated the various 
periods and phases of his art. There was no attempt to 
make the collection complete, comprehensive, exhaustive ; 
and probably this was wise. It was a choice group, and in 
the discrimination exercised by the committee the painter 
was more intelligently honored than he would have been by 
a larger, more miscellaneous exhibition, in which there must 
have been naturally some repetition, redundancy, and, pos- 
sibly, an element of second-best, which would have been alto- 
gether repugnant to his own ideals. 

A sufficient notion of his early work in oils was conveyed 
by "The Bright Side" of 1865, "Snap the Whip" of 1872, 
"The Visit from the Old Mistress" of 1876, and "The Camp 
Fire" of 1880. The general opinion in New York seemed to 
be that these early pictures were relatively meagre, and, 
in some cases, almost commonplace. A picture dealer of 
my acquaintance, standing in front of "Snap the Whip," 
shrugged his shoulders, and said it reminded him of Prang's 
chromo-lithographs. This is like casting contempt upon some 
good and beloved old melody because it has been played by 
the street hand-organs. On my pointing out some of the in- 
teresting and delightful things in the picture, my friend the 
dealer retorted, "Oh, you are prejudiced. Everything from 
Homer's hand looks fine to you." There was truth in this 
accusation : I had to admit the soft impeachment. But there 
are many who share my sentiment — and that it is a matter 
of sentiment I frankly confess also. Everything from the 
hand of a great artist has something of his mind and tem- 
perament in it. Mr. Huneker, in "The Sun," speaking of 
Homer's departure from New York and his settlement at 
Front's Neck, expressed the view that to paint as he had 
been painting up to that time would have been artistic stag- 


nation, if not artistic death. This is a hazardous guess as to 
what might have been ; but I do not believe anything of the 
kind. Of course Homer would never have been content to 
paint as he had been painting, but he was an original force 
in art from the first, and the germs of his mature master- 
works were living in those despised early pictures. 

Then followed, in chronological sequence, the "Early 
Evening," begun in Tynemouth in 1881 and completed and 
dated as late as 1907 in Scarboro ; the "Banks Fishermen" 
(or "The Herring Net") of 1885 ; "Undertow" and "Eight 
Bells" of 1886; "Coast in Winter" and "Sunlight on 
theCoast"of 1890; the glorious "West Wind" of 1891 ; the 
"Hound and Hunter" of 1892 ; "The Fox Hunt" and the 
"World's Columbian Exposition — the Fountain at Night" 
of 1893 ; "Moonlight, Wood Island Light" and "The Fisher 
Girl" of 1894; "Watching the Breakers: A High Sea," 
"Sunset, Saco Bay — The Coming Storm," and the famous 
"Maine Coast" of 1896; "The Gulf Stream" of 1899; 
" Kissing the Moon " of 1904 ; " Cape Trinity, Saguenay 
River, Moonlight" and "Right and Left" of 1909; and 
the unfinished picture of " Shooting the Rapids, Saguenay 
River" of 1910. These twenty-four oil paintings formed a 
fairly complete array of the representative works of forty-five 
years. One would have been glad to see a few others which 
were missing, such as the " Prisoners from the Front," which 
it was impossible to obtain at the time, " The Life Line," and 
three of the paintings in the Boston exhibition, — " The Fog 
Warning," "The Lookout— All's Well," and "On a Lee 
Shore," — but, as it was, the showing was enough to give 
assurance of a man. 

The oil paintings were supplemented by a magnificent col- 
lection of twenty-eight watercolors. The earliest of these were 


the " Berry Pickers " and " Boys Wading" of 1873, charming 
in their precision of style. A very interesting period of work 
in this medium was represented b}' the " Shepherdess " and 
" Hillside " of 1878. From that phase of rustic and juvenile 
life we were led on to the transitional Tynemouth series of 
1 88 1 and 1882, which marked the beginning of a distinct 
development in our artist's career as a watercolorist. This 
prolific phase was exemplified by six dramatic works, which 
included " A Voice from the Cliffs," "Watching the Tem- 
pest," and " The Perils of the Sea." The watercolor collec- 
tion culminated in the superb series of southern subjects from 
the Bahamas, Bermuda, Florida, and Key West, which Homer 
had retained for himself for some years in his Front's Neck 
studio and which he considered his best work. From them 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art had made its choice of a 
dozen works for its permanent collection, an amazing group 
for splendor of tropical color, luminosity, and individuality. 
They are wonderful, these tropical scenes, perhaps the most 
wonderful things that Homer ever produced. For pure beauty 
of color and light they have never been surpassed, and it is 
hard to believe that they ever can be. 

The twelve works acquired by the Metropolitan Museum 
are the "Natural Bridge, Nassau," "Palm Tree, Nassau," 
"Tornado, Bahamas," "A Wall, Nassau," "Bermuda," 
"Flower Garden and Bungalow," " Shore and Surf, Nassau," 
"The Bather," "Sloop, Bermuda," " The Pioneer," "Taking 
on Wet Provisions," and " Fishing Boats, Key West." Sev- 
eral of these are not dated, but those which bear dates are 
of 1898, 1899, 1900, and 1903 ; the similarity of style would 
go to show that all of the tropical scenes belong to this same 
period. The museum made an excellent selection, and Homer 
on his part manifested his customary sagacity in setting 


aside these works for the permanent collection of the leading 
art institution in America. With the five oil paintings owned 
by the Ivletropolitan Museum, they form a splendid monu- 
ment to his genius. 

Drawing freely upon the substance of the descriptive notes 
in the catalogue of the memorial exhibition in New York, by 
permission of the Metropolitan Museum, I will briefly outline 
the design and character of these twelve watercolors. " The 
Natural Bridge, Nassau," depicts a ledge of white shale which 
extends across the foreground, with the blue sea beyond. In 
the foreground, at the left, is a natural arch in the rock, and 
at the right a soldier in a red uniform lies prone on the 
ground looking over a precipice. " Palm Tree, Nassau," 
represents a lofty cocoa palm bent by the wind, and several 
smaller palms beyond. In the background is a deep blue 
sea, a narrow strip of land, and a white light-house. "Tor- 
nado, Bahamas," shows a group of house-tops, above which 
rise cocoa palms swaying in the gale. At the left is a glimpse 
of dull green sea; heavy storm clouds fill the sky. "A Wall, 
Nassau " (1898), shows a white plastered wall with a gate- 
way ; bright scarlet flowers growing on the farther side, 
which look like poinsettias, show above the wall. The blue 
sea, with a sail-boat, may be seen in the distance. " Bermuda " 
(i 899) is thus described in the catalogue : " On the white beach 
in the immediate foreground are three rusty cannons ; deep 
blue sea beyond. A sail-boat, manned by two negroes, is near 
the shore, and several other vessels are farther out. In the 
distance is a line of brown shore." The " Flower Garden and 
Bungalow," painted in Bermuda in 1899, has red and yellow 
flowers and palm-trees in the foreground ; a yellow bunga- 
low with a white roof and chimney stands by the side of a 
blue bay, the shore of which is dotted at the right by white 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Charles L. 

Freer, Detroit 


buildings. "Shore and Surf, Nassau" (1899), depicts a stony 
beach in the foreground, beyond which are green waves and 
surf and floating brown seaweed ; at the left is a white light- 
house, and on the horizon, where the water is deep blue, is 
a large steamer. "The Bather," painted in Nassau in 1899, 
represents a negro standing waist-deep in the blue water. 
At the left, farther back, is another negro with his head and 
shoulders only showing above the water. On the shore in 
the distance at the right is a pavilion decorated with flags. 
" Sloop, Bermuda," is a picture of a white sloop seen from 
the stem, where a reddish row-boat is tied. The water is 
green and blue. Aboard the sloop are two negroes. The sails 
hang in wind-blown swirls. Clothes are hung out to dry on 
the boom. There is a small boat at the right, and a strip of 
brown shore at the horizon. " The Pioneer," the only Adi- 
rondacks motive in this group, has been described already. 
"Taking in Wet Provisions," painted at Key West in 1903, 
is one of the most brilliant of all the brilliant tropical scenes. 
A small boat is fastened near the bow of a schooner, and a 
keg is being hoisted on board by means of a block and tackle 
worked by a man in a red shirt near the foremast. A man in 
the small boat steadies the keg, and a third sailor is on the 
farther side of the schooner. The water is light blue-green, 
and in the distance, at the left, is a small sail-boat. " Fishing 
Boats, Key West " (1903), is another dazzling flood of southern 
sunlight. A white sloop with the name Lizzie painted on the 
side, near the bow, is in the foreground at the right. A sailor 
wearing a red shirt is seen on the deck. At the left is a part 
of another boat which casts a dark green reflection on the 
light blue-green water. 

An excellent descriptive catalogue was prepared for the 
New York exhibition, which gave a brief account of the 


artist's life, a list of his works in public collections, a biblio- 
graphy, and an index. There were some slight errors in the 
biographical sketch, as, for instance, in the statement that 
after 1868 Homer " remained in New York only a short time, 
and during the rest of his life came to this city only for brief 
visits," which is rather wide of the mark in view of the fact 
that New York was his home for twenty-five years. The dates 
are incorrect in several instances. He was not sixteen, but 
nineteen, years of age when he was apprenticed to BufEord, 
the lithographer, in Boston ; the years that he spent in Eng- 
land were 1881 and 1882 ; and, finally, it was in 1884, not in 
1890, that he settled in Scarboro. These lapses are matters 
of no very great consequence ; on the other hand this cata- 
logue is the first specimen of Homeriana to give the correct 
date of the first exhibition of " Prisoners from the Front" — 

The most elaborate and thoughtful review of the exhibition 
was that written for the " Evening Post " of March 4 by Frank 
Jewett Mather, Junior. This critic professed great admiration 
for Homer's work, but found the "absence of formulas" in 
his art baffling. It seemed to him impossible that " so many 
fine works by one hand should be so discordant." Homer 
"faces nature with a kind of ruthless impersonality." He 
"repels while he attracts," is "distinguished in virtue of a 
magnificent commonness and a wilfully prosaic probity." If 
he bulks large to-day, it is because of "the debilitated estate 
of American painting during his lifetime." He "seems to 
have had but little music in his soul, but he had a blunt and 
forceful way of saying what he meant." A more fortunate age, 
that has arrived at what Mr. Mather calls vital formulas, " may 
perhaps find his work a shade anarchical, brusque, and in- 
complete." In a word, strong and original as he was, Mr. 


Mather longs to have him something different. There is much 
that is interesting and suggestive in his review, but the note 
of personal sympathy with the work is wanting. On the 
whole, in spite of some expressions of admiration which seem 
to have been extorted from the writer in spite of himself, his 
article leaves the impression of a peculiar lack of the inti- 
mate understanding that can only be attained through sheer 
love and enthusiasm. It is a case of — 

I do not love thee. Doctor Fell. 
The reason why I cannot tell; 
But this alone I know full well, 
I do not love thee. Doctor Fell. 

It is now time to turn to the Boston memorial exhibition. 
This offered an interesting contrast to the New York ex- 
hibition, in that watercolors predominated in numbers. Out of 
the total of seventy works, eight were oil paintings, ten were 
drawings, and fifty-two were watercolors. All the loans came 
from Boston and its vicinity. The Rhode Island School of 
Design, Providence, lent its masterpiece, " On a Lee Shore," 
which was given the place of honor on the north wall. With 
this, the other oil paintings were "The Fog Warning" and 
"The Lookout — All's Well," belonging to the permanent 
collection of the Museum of Fine Arts ; the " Flight of Wild 
Geese," belonging to Mrs. Roland C. Lincoln ; the " Hunts- 
man and Dogs," belonging to Mrs. Bancel La Farge ; the 
" Zouaves Pitching Quoits," belonging to Mr. Frederic H. 
Curtiss; " Mount Washington," belonging to Mrs. W, H, S. 
Pearce ; and a small study of a young girl, belonging to Mr. 
Arthur B. Homer. The array of fifty-odd watercolors com- 
prised good examples of all periods and of all the geogra- 
phical phases of the painter's activities, from his pictures of 
children and negroes of the seventies, his Gloucester series 


of 1880, the Tynemouth series of 1881 and 1882, the Bahamas 
and Santiago de Cuba series of 1885 and later, and the Adi- 
rondacks and Canadian subjects of recent years, with a few 
marine pieces from Front's Neck. There was no catalogue, 
and in the appendix I give a list of the titles and names of 
owners compiled by myself as a matter of record. The pro- 
digious ease and simplicity of the artist's watercolor method, 
the blended delicacy and strength of his style, its sturdy 
individuality and distinction, the extraordinary carrying 
power of his well-defined masses and planes, with those 
constantly recurring felicities of the most unexpected char- 
acter which form such a fascinating subject for study, were 
more than ever manifest in this collection. In this elusive 
medium he was perfectly at home and expressed himself 
with stimulating directness and pungency. Prior to the Tyne- 
mouth watercolors the dominant note is of an exquisite 
delicacy of detail, but after that the manner gradually 
broadens and becomes more emphatic, sweeping, and dra- 
matic, until in the Adirondacks and Province of Quebec 
subjects of the nineties and later we mark the full develop- 
ment of that rapid, bold, loose, and authoritative style in 
which the essentials of the subject are, as it were, flung upon 
the paper with all the abandon and freedom of a complete 
master of the art, sure of himself, and exulting in his strength, 
unequaled and alone in the capacity of forcible and succinct 

The collection revealed the immense variety and scope of 
his subject-matter. The " Children Wading at Gloucester," 
"Girl with Letter," "Going Berrying," "Children and Sail- 
boat," "The Green Dory," "Sailing Dories," and the two 
little figure subjects of 1878, matched in charm and naivete 
the Houghton Farm and Gloucester watercolors of Mrs. 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr, Frank L. 

Babbott, Brooklyn, N. Y. 


From the oil painting in the collection of Mr. Burton 

Mansfield, New Haven, Connecticut 


Lawson Valentine's collection in the New York exhibition. 
In the "Wreck off the English Coast " of 1881, which showed 
the Tynemouth life-saving crew going to the rescue of the 
crew of the ship Iron Crown, October 25, 1881 (one of the 
least meritorious of his marine pieces), we saw the dawning 
inspiration of the long suite of finely conceived and highly 
dramatic shipwreck themes of that period, which was also 
illustrated by the " Fisherwomen, English Coast," " An After- 
glow," "Storm on the English Coast," "Three Fishermen 
and Girl," " Fishermen's Wives," and the " Mouth of the 
TjTie." The beauty and romance of the tropics, as shown in 
the Nassau and South Coast of Cuba motives, were richly 
set forth in "The Road in Nassau," the "Spanish Club " in 
Santiago, "Street in Santiago de Cuba," "Diver, Nassau," 
and " Government Building." The grave and melancholy 
nobilit}^ of the northern forests and mountains and streams 
and the wild rush of the torrents and rapids were pictured 
in a great series of wilderness compositions, among which I 
need mention only the " Shooting Rapids," " Canoes in 
Rapids," "Wild Ducks," "Fishing," "ThePortage," "Indian 
Camp," "Three Men in a Canoe," "Guide," "Men in Canoe," 
"Adirondacks," etc. 

" In these later watercolors," wrote Mr. A. J. Philpott, in 
the Boston "Globe," February 13, 1911, "there is none of 
the restraint or indecision which this medium so often im- 
poses on the artist. He was superior to all technical difficul- 
ties in these sketches. They are the work of a master." The 
same writer pointed out that Homer was able to synthesize 
as no other man in his day "the best picturesque feeling in 
the American people — the large things in which life and 
nature met and which appealed to the imagination." A pretty 
touch was that in Mr. Philpott's comment on the black-and- 


white drawings in tiiis collection : " There is a little sketch 
here of Gloucester harbor in pencil outline with the high 
lights on sails, water, foreground, and sky in Chinese white. 
It is a simple little sketch, yet full of suggestion. . . . The 
three boys in the foreground, lying at full length on the 
grass, kicking up their bare heels and looking out on the 
scene, give this sketch just that human, that imaginative 
touch that Homer always seemed to regard as vital to the 
impression he wished to convey. He is looking on that mov- 
ing panorama of fishing schooners going to and coming from 
the Banks through the eyes, the thoughts, and the imagina- 
tion of those three boys." 

In delivering an informal address in the gallery, on Sun- 
day afternoon, February 19, 191 1, Mr. Albert H. Munsell 
said : — 

" In attempting an appreciation of Homer's masterly art, 
first place should be given to its broad human message, rather 
than its technique, which is unsophisticated and almost brutal, 
yet never obscures the genuineness of his expression. Tech- 
nique is an external quality, and may be rough or smooth ; 
the drawing may be academic or clumsy, the color grim or 
suave, yet if it conveys a direct message from one human 
being to another, and leaves the impression of nature, its 
work is complete. The sense of nature breathes through 
Homer's art. Whether it takes us to the camps of the Civil 
War or those of the hunter in Canada and the Adirondacks, 
whether he shows the fishermen of Tynemouth in old Eng- 
land or those of Gloucester in the New, or in the later sunlit 
waters of the West Indies, so fully does he impart his enthu- 
siasm for nature that we seem to be with him on the spot. 

" Large art is the expression of large conceptions. It does 
not appeal to a single class or mental attitude, like the recent 


From the watercolor in the permanent collection of the 

Worcester Art Museum. Copyright, Detroit Publishing 



From the watercolor in the permanent collection of the 

Worcester Art Museum. Copyright, Detroit Publishing 


'■'YL^ J J. i ' I VL i'i,("i ;- J. '-.'^^ 


wail of art for art's sake. It plunges deeper, to fundamental 
feelings and broad human interests. Homer is not to be 
classed with any school or group. He is a distinct person- 
ality, and his design often rises to a sculpturesque, almost 
monumental impression. His ' Lookout — All 's Well,' ' Eight 
Bells,' 'The Fog Warning,' and 'A Voice from the Cliffs' 
could be rendered in bronze, instead of in paint, and still 
move us profoundly. 

" La Farge's caustic remark that America has more paint- 
ers than artists does not hurt such work ; it rather empha- 
sizes its value, for although Homer's earlier paintings were 
not coloristic, they possessed large qualities of design, and 
his later canvases are full of beautiful color. One cannot 
dismiss such pictures with a casual glance. They grasp the 
attention, stimulate thought, and leave an indelible image. 
Thirty years ago, as a student, I saw his ' Wreck,' ' Voice 
from the Cliff,' and 'Fox Hunt.' To-day I can see where they 
hung in the Park Street gallery, even with eyes shut, so deep 
and complete was the impression. The public is debtor to 
the Museum of Fine Arts, which has gathered so many ex- 
amples from private collections, where only a few were priv- 
ileged to see them. Such works of contemporary genius 
deserve the same sincere and prolonged study which we 
willingly give to masterpieces of music or literature, but rarely 
accord to modern works in painting and sculpture." 

With his life-work spread before us like an open book, it 
is now possible to form some estimate of the distinguishing 
characteristics of that ceuvre, to attempt the formulation of 
a verdict, and to assign a just place in the history of paint- 
ing in America to this unique personality. In looking back 
to Homer's boyhood, we must remember that he started out 
upon his career as a painter with unusually definite convic- 


tions as to his policy. It is a remarkable circumstance that 
he should have thought out a plan of campaign at the age 
when most boys are drifting along, coming first under this 
and then under that influence. " I am going to be a painter," 
he said; "and if you are going to be a painter, it is best 
not to look at pictures." Allowing for the exaggeration and 
bravado of youth, this line of policy, in a large general way, 
thus early determined, constituted his declaration of inde- 
pendence, and was a sincere expression of strong personal 
conviction and of temperamental bias. We know what it led 
to ; we know in what an uncommon degree it was adhered 
to throughout a long career ; and artists will realize how 
much of courage, patience, will power, and hard work it 

The way could have been made far easier, under different 
conditions, but it will always be an open question whether, 
in Homer's case, a rigorous course of academic training, 
which would have saved him so many difficulties, would 
have been to the advantage of an artist constituted as he 
was, or, on the other hand, whether it would not have in 
some measure taken away from his work the virgin quality 
of fresh and individual perception, offering the inadequate 
compensation of a smoother, more fluent, more sophisticated 
style. Such speculations would lead us too far afield, in- 
volving as they do the whole great question of the value of 
art instruction as it is given in the schools. For good or ill, 
he made his own choice, and that it was a wise one, for him, 
cannot be doubted. He justified it time and again trium- 
phantly and conclusively. 

This does not mean that he was a faultless painter ; on the 
contrary, he had many faults ; and he was fully aware of all 
his shortcomings ; he was his own severest critic. There are 


no perfect painters, and, if there were such, we would not 
like them. But the criticism that counts takes note of posi- 
tive, affirmative qualities, and, while not ignoring defects, 
strikes the balance in favor of the creative and original. 
Homer created his conceptions, coined his own metal. His 
st}-le was the style of a man having something to say, and, 
argue as we may about what constitutes style, that is the 
best which contains the most meaning, sentiment, and poetry. 
Technique is a beautiful and desirable thing; it is sacred, 
if you will, in the sense that good workmanship is sacred, 
but where are you going to draw the line, and say. Here 
technique ends and the artist's soul begins to speak? We 
cannot thus dissect the work of art, for it is a living thing. 
And, again, shall we say that there is a standard of tech- 
nique to which the work of a painter, for instance, must mea- 
sure up ? Who sets that standard ? All this hair-splitting is 
idle, and it has nothing to say to real art. That leaps over 
barriers, and finds Its own means of expression as it may. It 
is a direct, personal, unambiguous, recognizable message, a 
confession of faith, a revelation, which, originating in a strong 
emotion, and delivered with travail, comes straight to our 
minds and hearts, a communication of one man to another, 
which can and does stretch out a hand of brotherhood across 
the long ages. 

There are generations yet unborn in America who will 
receive Winslow Homer's message with joy and gratitude. 
He kept his nature unspoiled, simple, open, and sensitive to 
the call of nature and life. He held holy that something in 
himself which echoed the voice of the ocean, the forest, the 
mountain, and responded with such perfect harmony and sym- 
pathy to the stem, sad, noble beauty of the North, and the 
sensuous romance and splendor of the South. He excluded 


much from his Hfe that most men cherish, that he might de- 
vote himself with utter singleness of purpose to his vocation. 
In all the history of art you will find no man — no, not even 
Rembrandt himself, the supreme pictorial artist — more self- 
respecting. I speak reverently of this trait, for on it is based 
the dignity and nobility of his art. 

From my boyhood I have loved his pictures, the least of 
them, — a drawing in a little book, a slight affair, perhaps a 
sail-boat with a group of boys and girls aboard, but so full 
of a good, sound, expressive naturalism, that one said, 
" What a jolly thing it is to sail a boat ! " — and from that day 
to the time of " The Lookout — All 's Well," with its inscru- 
table, mystic suggestion of all the wonders of the life of the 
seaman, and its still more mysterious hint of the wonders of 
life itself, the solitary figure of Winslow Homer has loomed 
up in my imagination with a strange persistency and a singu- 
lar, commanding impressiveness. In him, more than in any 
other American painter, dwelt that racy, native, pungent, 
Yankee note which seemed to me beyond all price. The 
things that he painted interested me ; the way that he painted 
them suited me ; the way that things looked to him was the 
way that they looked to me ; I felt that I understood him ; and 
I rashly resolved that I would make a book about him. How 
he repelled my advances we have seen ; it was not done in 
an unkind spirit ; I believe he was wholly honest when he 
said that he thought such a thing would kill him. Never- 
theless, being overmuch persuaded, he finally promised to 
answer all my questions, if I lived long enough ; and when 
he died one of my letters containing fifty questions was on 
his desk awaiting the responses which never were to come. 

What the influence of his life and work upon the coming 
generation of American painters is to be, is a difficult ques- 

From the unfinished oil painting, given to the Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, New York, by Mr. Charles S. 
Homer, in igii 


tion, which it is yet too early to settle. An artist of his kind 
founds no school, and is likely to have few followers. If his 
example is valued, as it should be, it will simply lead to 
the cultivation of a more and more intense individualism. 
Whether this is good or not depends entirely upon the man. 
Homer's policy would be suicidal for the vast majority. Left 
to their own devices, they would go to pieces in short order. 
They must have somebody to lean upon ; they are those 
who require the "artistic atmosphere." There will be, how- 
ever, from time to time, exceptional men, who have a real 
vocation, and these men may subject themselves to the test, 
and tr}' to stand alone. He who attempts such a great adven- 
ture must be ven,^ sure of his calling ; must be ready to 
" scorn delights and live laborious days." To daring souls, 
eager to measure their strength against all the forces of the 
world, the example of Homer will always be an inspiration. 
In other walks of life than that of the painter it may well 
be that such an extreme development of individualism as his 
would be regarded as deplorable. But in the art of painting 
a man cannot make a more valuable contribution to the 
civilization of his time than by creating his own traditions 
and making the best of his own talents. What we want in 
painting is not a school ; we want men ; and the problem 
for the painter is not to fit himself comfortably into the social 
order, but to cultivate narrowly his personal creative capa- 
city. It has happened before now that in order to do this a 
man has found it necessary to exclude from his scheme of 
existence most of the items that go to the making of the 
average man's life. 



THE chronology of many of Winslow Homer's oil paint- 
ings and watercolors offers some difficulty to the cata- 
loguer. Some of his works are not dated. Others have 
been exhibited and catalogued at various times and places under 
different titles. Some of his watercolors either have no titles, or 
the titles have been forgot by the owners, so that, in the Boston 
Memorial Exhibition of 191 1, some of the titles had to be ex- 
temporized for the occasion. The subjoined lists of the works 
exhibited in many exhibitions in New York, Philadelphia, Pitts- 
burg, and Boston — including all the exhibitions of the National 
Academy of Design, from 1863 to 1910, in which any of his 
works were shown, all the exhibitions of the American Water- 
color Society in which he was represented, and the Memorial 
Exhibitions of 1911 in New York and Boston — contain a very 
large majority of the entire auvre of the artist, since there are 
but very few of his works in either medium which did not find 
their way into some one of these exhibitions. The dates are be- 
lieved to be in most cases correct, but, as it has been necessary in 
some instances to rely upon circumstantial evidence, their exacti- 
tude cannot be guaranteed. In the lists of works exhibited in the 
National Academy of Design, the American Watercolor Society, 
the Society of American Artists, and the Pennsylvania Academy 
of the Fine Arts, the dates given are those of the exhibitions. In 
the lists of the Clarke collection, the loan exhibition at the Carne- 
gie Institute at Pittsburg in 1908, and the New York and Boston 
Memorial Exhibitions of 1911, the dates given are those of the 
works themselves. 


NEW YORK, FROM 1863 TO 1910 


1863. The Last Goose at Yorktown. 
Home, Sweet Home. 

1864. In front of the Guard-house. 
The Briarwood Pipe. 

1865. The Bright Side. 
Pitching Quoits. 
The Initials. 

1866. The Brush Harrow. 
Prisoners from the Front. 

1867. A Study. 

Confederate Prisoners at the Front. (Johnston Collection.) 

1868. Picardie. 
The Studio. 

1869. The Manchester Coast. 
Low Tide. 

1870. White Mountain Wagon. 
Sketch from Nature. 

Mt. Adams. 
Salem Harbor. 
Lobster Cove. 
As You Like It. 
Sawkill River, Pa. 
Eagle Head, Manchester. 
The White Mountains. 
Manners and Customs at the Seaside. 
1872. The Mill. 

The Country School. 



1872. Crossing the Pasture. 
Rainy Day in Camp. 
Country Store. 

1874. School Time. 

Sunday Morning. 
Dad 's Coming. 

1875. Landscape. 
Milking Time. 
Course of True Love. 
Uncle Ned at Home. 

1876. The Old Boat. 
Cattle Piece. 
Over the Hills. 
A Fair Wind. 

1877. Answering the Horn. 

1878. The Watermelon Boys. 
The Two Guides. 

In the Fields. 


Shall I Tell Your Fortune ? 

A Fresh Morning. 

1879. Upland Cotton. 

The Shepherdess of Houghton Farm. 

1880. Summer. 

Visit from the Old Mistress. 
Camp Fire. 
Sunday Morning. 

1883. The Coming Away of the Gale. 

1884. The Life Line. 

1885. The Herring Net (or, Banks Fishermen). 

1886. Lost on the Grand Banks. 



1887. Undertow. 

1888. Eight Bells. 
1906. The Gulf Stream. 
1908. The West Wind. 

Hound and Hunter. 
1910. Below Zero. (Spring Exhibition.) 
Camp Fire. 

Sunset, Saco Bay, the Coming Storm. 
High Cliff, Coast of Maine. 
The West Wind. 

Exhibited in memo- 
> riam at the Winter 



1867. Study 

1870. Long Branch. 

1875. A Lazy Day. 

The Changing Basket. 

What Is It ? 

A Pot Fisherman. 

A Fisherman's Daughter. 

On the Fence. 

Fly Fishing. 

A Sick Chicken. 

A Basket of Clams. 

Skirting; the Wheat. 

How Many Eggs .? 

An Oil Prince. 

On the Sands. 



1875. Green Apples. 
A Clam Bake. 

Why don't the Suckers Bite ? 

Pull Him In ! 

Cow Boys. 

The Bazaar Book of Decorum. 

Good Morning. 

A Farm Team. 

Another Girl. 

The "Thaddeus of Warsaw." 

The City of Gloucester. 

Adirondacks Guides. 

Seven Sketches in Black-and- White. 

1876. After the Bath. 

A Chimney Corner. 

The Busy Bee. 

A Penny for Your Thoughts, 

The Gardener's Daughter. 

A Flower for the Teacher. 


Poor Luck. 

A Fish Story. 


Furling the Jib. 


Too Thoughtful for Her Years. 

A Glimpse from a Railroad Train. 

1877. Book. 

1879. Husking. 
Fresh Air. 
Oak Trees with Girl. 



1879. Chestnut Tree. 


On the Fence. 

Girl in a Wind. 

Watching Sheep. 

Sketch from Nature. 

In the Orchard. 

Girl on a Garden Seat. 

On the Hill. 

The Strawberry Field. 

Girl and Boy. 

Old House. 

A Rainy Day. 


Oak Trees. 


Girl, Sheep, and Basket. 

Girl and Boat. 


Girl with Half a Rake. 

Girl, Boat, and Boy. 
1881. Gloucester, Mass. 

Winding the Clock. (Lent by Gen. F. W. Palfrey.) 

Something Good About This ! 

Girl Reading. 




Eastern Point Light. 


Coasters at Anchor. 

July Morning, 

Gloucester Boys. 


A Lively Time. 



1 88 1. Bad Weather. 
Early Morning. 

Schooners at Anchor. 

Field Point, Greenwich, Conn. 
Three Boys. 
The Yacht Hope. 
Fishing Boats at Anchor. 

1883. Tynemouth. 

A Voice from the ClifF. 
Inside the Bar. 
The Incoming Tide. 

1884. The Ship's Boat. 
Scotch Mist. 

1887. Sketch in Key West. (Lent by C. S. Homer.) 
Sketch in Florida. (Lent by C. S. Homer.) 

1888. Tampa. 

" For to be a Farmer's Boy." 

A Norther, Key West. 
Sand and Sky. 
1 89 1. Mending Nets. 

1905. Pulling in the Anchor. 

1906. The Turkey Buzzard. 
Black Bass, Florida. 
Taking on Provisions. 

1909. By the North Sea. 
Five Drawings. 


FROM 1888 TO 1910 


1 888-1 889. Undertow. 

1 893-1 894. The Fox Hunt. 

On the Lake. 

Just Caught. 

1895-1896. Northeaster. \ j. , ^, „ 

Riooaheht, Wood Island Light. \ _, , 

btorm-Beaten. ) 

1896-1897. Sunset, Saco Bay, the Coming Storm. 
1899-1900. The Gulf Stream. 

High Seas. } Lent by Col. George C. 

1900-1901. The Signal of Distress. ) Briggs 
1901-1902. Northeaster. Lent by George A. Hearn 

Flight of Wild Geese. Lent by Mrs. R. C. Lincoln 

1902-1903. Eastern Point. 

The Unruly Calf. 
1 903-1 904. Early Morning, Coast of Maine. 

Eight Bells. Lent by E. T. Stotesbury 

1 905-1 906. Kissing the Moon. 
1 906-1 907. Long Branch. Lent by R. W. Vonnoh 

Bermuda. (Watercolor.) Lent by Dr. George Woodward 
1 907-1 908. High Cliff, Coast of Maine. Lent by William T. Evans 
1908— 1909. Searchlight, Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba. 
1909—1910. Early Evening. Lent by Charles L. Freer 

1910-1911. Right and Left. 


YORK, FROM 1897 TO 1903 


1897. Marine — Coast. 

The Lookout — All 's Well, Lights AD Up. 
Saco Bay. 

1900. High Seas. 

1 90 1. West Point, Prout's Neck, Maine. 
Eastern Point. 

1902. Northeaster. 

1903. Early Morning. 
Cannon Rock. 


[NoTZ. — Mr. Clarke's collection waa sold at auction, February 14, 15, 16, and 17, 
1899. In tills list tile dates, when available, and the names of the purchasers are given. 
Many of the works liave changed bands since 1899.] 

Oil Paintings 


1863. Rations. E. H. Bernhe'imer 

1865. The Bright Side. S. P. Avery, Jr. 

1876. The Visit from the Old Mistress. M. H. Lehman 
The Two Guides. C. f. Blair 

1877. The Carnival. N. C. Matthews 







Camp Fire. 

Alexander Harrison 


' To the Rescue. 

T. L. Manson., Jr. 


The Life Line. 

G. W. Elkins 


The Market Scene. 

R. A. Thompson 


Eight Bells. 

Herman Schaus 


The West Wind. 

Samuel Untermyer 


Coast in Winter. 

a J. Blair 


The Gale. 

T. Harsen Rhoades 


Moonlight, Wood Island Light, 

Boussod^ Valadon & Co. 


Maine Coast. 

F. A. Bell 

The Lookout — All's Well. 


of Fine Arts., Boston 






In the Garden. 

F. Rockefeller 


Watching the Tempest. 
Perils of the Sea. 

Burton Mansfield 
A. C. Humphreys 


The Breakwater. 

Emerson McMillin 


The Buccaneers. 

E. D. Page 


Under a Palm Tree. 

F. Rockefeller 



Sea on the Bar. 

H. Sampson 
W. S. Rainsford 


Rowing Homeward. 

Charles L. Freer 


On the ClifFs. 

Thomas L, Manson, yr. 


Canoeing in the Adirondacks. 

Thomas L. Manson., Jr. 


J. B. Mahon 

Rise to a Fly. 

D. A. Davis 

An Unexpected Catch. 

F. Rockefeller 

Leaping Trout. 


of Fine Arts, Boston 




1885. Banks Fishermen. Charles W. Gould 

The Fog Warning. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

1887. Hark, the Lark! Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee 

Undertow. Edward D. Adams 

1 89 1. Huntsman and Dogs. Mrs. Bancel La Farge 

1892. Hound and Hunter. Louis Ettlinger 

1893. The Gale. Mrs. B. Ogden Chisolm 
The Fox Hunt. Pennsylvania Academy 

1894. The Fisher Girl. Burton Mansfield 
High Cliff, Coast of Maine. National Gallery of Art 

1895. Cannon Rock. Metropolitan Museum 

1896. The Lookout — All's Well. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 
Sunset, Saco Bay, The Coming Storm. Lotos Club 
Maine Coast. C. f. Blair 
The Two Guides. C. J. Blair 
The Wreck. Carnegie Institute 

1897. Flight of Wild Geese. Mrs. R. C. Lincoln 
A Light on the Sea. Corcoran Gallery of Art 

1899. The Gulf Stream. Metropolitan Museum 
Searchlight, Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba. 

Metropolitan Museum 

1900. On a Lee Shore. Rhode Island School of Design 
1907. Early Evening. Charles L. Freer 



Oil Paintings 


1865. The Bright Side. fF. A. White 

1872. Snapping the Whip. Richard H. Ewart 

1876. The Visit from the Old Mistress. National Gallery of Art 
1880. Camp Fire. H. K. Pomroy 

1881-1907. Early Evening. Charles L. Freer 

("Painted in 1881 — Cut down from large picture and put in 
present shape December, 1907.") 

1885. Banks Fishermen (or. The Herring Net). Charles W. Gould 

1886. Undertow. Edward D. Adams 
Eight Bells. Edward T. Stotesbury 

1890. Coast in Winter. yohn G. Johnson 
Sunlight on the Coast. 'John G. Johnson 

1891. West Wind. Samuel Untermeyer 

1892. Hound and Hunter. Louis Ettlinger 

1893. '^^^ Yq-x. Hunt. Pennsylvania Academy 
World's Columbian Exposition — The Fountain at Night. 

C. S. Homer 

1894. Moonlight, Wood Island Light. George A. Hearn 
The Fisher Girl. Burton Mansfield 

1896. Watching the Breakers: A High Sea. Airs. H. W. Rogers 
Sunset, Saco Bay, the Coming Storm. The Lotos Club 

Maine Coast. George A. Hearn 

1904. Sunset and Moonrise (or. Kissing the Moon). Lewis A. Stimson 

1909. Cape Trinity, Saguenay River, Moonlight. Burton Mansfield 
Right and Left. Randal Morgan 

1 9 10. Shooting the Rapids, Saguenay River (Unfinished). 

Charles S. Homer 






1873. Berry Pickers. 

Boys Wading. 
1878. Shepherdess. 


1881. On the Beach, Tynemouth. 
Peril of the Sea. 
Watching the Tempest. 

1882. Fishwives. 

Fishing Boats ofF Scarborough. 

1883. A Voice from the Cliffs. 

1889. Trout. 

1890. Salt Kettle. 

St. John's River, Florida. 
1892. Sketch for Hound and Hunter. 

1898. Turtle Pound. 
Natural Bridge, Nassau. 
Palm Tree, Nassau. 
Tornado, Bahamas. 

A Wall, Nassau. 

1899. Bermuda. 

Flower Garden and Bungalow. 
Shore and Surf, Nassau. 
The Bather. 
Sloop, Bermuda. 

1900. The Pioneer. 

1903. Taking on Wet Provisions. 
Fishing Boats, Key West, 

1904. Homosassa, Florida. 


Mrs. Lavjson Valentine 

' Mrs. Lawson Valentine 

Mrs. Lawson Valentine 

Mrs. Lawson Valentine 

Charles S. Homer 

Alexander C. Humphreys 

Burton Mansfield 

Charles S. Homer 

Alexander TV. Drake 

Alexander W. Drake 

Charles S. Homer 

Charles S. Homer 

Charles S. Homer 

Charles S. Homer 

Hamilton Field 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Metropolitan Museum 

Charles S. Homer 



RUARY 7 TO MARCH i, 1911 

Oil Paintings 


1865. Zouaves Pitching Quoits. 

1869. Mount Washington. 


1885. The Fog Warning. 

1891. Huntsman and Dogs. 

1896. The Lookout — All's Well. 

1897. Flight of Wild Geese. 


Frederic H. Curtiss 

Mrs. W. H. S. Pearce 

Arthur B. Homer 

Museum of Fine Arts 

Mrs. Bancel La Farge 

Museum of Fine Arts 

Mrs. Roland C. Lincoln 

1900. On a Lee Shore. 

Rhode Island School of Design 



1878. On the Fence. 

1879. Girl with Letter. 
Going Berrying. 

1880. Children Wading at Gloucester. 
Children and Sail-boat. 
Sailing Dories. 

The Green Dory. 
Gloucester Harbor. 

1 88 1. Wreck off the English Coast. 
Three Fishermen and Girl. 
Fishermen's Wives. 
Mouth of the Tyne, England 
Fisherwomen, English Coast. 

1882. Tynemouth Boats. 
An After-glow. 


William H. Doivnes 

Henry Sayles 

Edward Hooper estate 

Horace D. Chapin 

Edward Hooper estate 

Mrs. Greely S. Curtis 

Edward Hooper estate 

Dr. Arthur T. Cabot 

Edward Hooper estate 

Ed-ward Hooper Estate 

John T. Morse, Jr. 

John T. Morse, Jr. 

Arthur B. Homer 

Edward Hooper estate 

Grenville H. Norcross 

William P. Blake 





The Dunes. 
Scotch Fishwomen. 
Returning Fishing Boat. 
Storm on the English Coast. 


Mrs. Samuel Cabot 

Museum of Fine Arts 

Horace D. Chapin 

Roger Warner 

(Painted at Flamborough Head.) 

Landscape and Lake. 
1885. Bahamas. 
iSSs.? The Road in Nassau. 

Diver, Nassau. 

Spanish Club, Santiago de Cuba. 

Street in Santiago de Cuba 

Custom House, Santiago de Cuba 
1887. In a Corn-field. 
1889. Deer in Canada Woods. 
1892. Adirondacks. 

In the Adirondacks. 

1894. Surf at Prout's Neck. 

1895. Men in Canoe. 
Indian Camp. 

(" Montagnais Indians, Point Bleue, Quebec") 
Trout Fishing. Museum of Fine Arts 

Marine. J. Reed Whipple £3" Co. 

Leaping Trout. Museum of Fine Arts 

Arthur B. Homer 

Edward Hooper estate 

William P. Blake 

Mrs. Greely S. Curtis 

Mrs. C. A. Coolidge 

Mrs. Robert Osgood 

Roger Warner 

Edward Hooper estate 

Edward Hooper estate 

Edward Hooper estate 

Mrs. S. D. Warren 

Mrs. Orlando H. Alford 

Clement S. Houghton 

Museum of Fine Arts 

1897. Men in a Canoe. 

f Ouananiche Fishing in Lake St. John 


Three Men in a Canoe. 

Mountain and Sky. 


Ouananiche, St. John River. 

Wild Ducks. 


Shooting Rapids. 

Canoes in Rapids. 

Scene in the Adirondacks. 

Mrs. A. S. Bigelow 

William P. Blake 

H. O. Underwood 

Airs, fames M. Longyear 

W. S. Bigelow 

W. S. Bigelow 

Hollis French 

Mrs. Arthur H. Sargent 

Frederic H. Curtiss 

Mrs. f. y. Storrow 

Mrs. Orlando H. Alford 

Dr. A. Coolidge., Jr. 



1902. Palms in a Storm, Key West. Greely S. Curtis 

1907. The Portage. Desmond FitzGerald 

Cliffs at Prout's Neck. Arthur B. Homer 

Black-and-JVhite Drawings 


1879. Boy with a Stick. Mrs. Robert Osgood 
Boy with Scythe. Horace D. Chapin 
Boys Swimming. Horace D. Chapin 

1880. Gloucester Harbor. Horace D. Chapin 

1 88 1. Wreck. Roger Warner 
("Wreck of the Iron Crown, Tynemouth, October 25, 1881.") 

Sketch. Edward W. Forbes 

Fisherwomen, English Coast. Roger Warner 

1882. Fisherwomen. William H. Downes 
Fishing Vessels off Rocks. Roger Warner 

1884. Woman in Storm. Francis H. Lee 



Anonymous. An unsigned paper on Winslow Homer and F. A. 
Bridgman, in the Art Journal^ London, August, 1878. American 
edition, pp. 225-227. 

Anonymous. Descriptive Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of 
Paintings by Winslow Homer at the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art. New York: igii. 53 pages. 

Anonymous. " Great Painters of the Ocean." Current Lit- 
erature^ New York, vol. 45, pp. 54-57. 

Anonymous. " Winslow Homer." The Outlook^ New York, 
October 15, 1910, pp. 338-339. 

Brinton, Christian. " Winslow Homer." Scribner's Maga- 
zine, January, 1911, pp. 9—23. 13 illustrations. 

Caffin, Charles H. American Masters of Painting (New 
York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1906), pp. 71-80. 

Caffin, Charles H. Story of American Painting (New York: 
1907), pp. 233-236. 

Caffin, Charles H. " Winslow Homer's Marine Paintings." 
The Critic, New York, vol. 43, p. 548. 

Champlin & Perkins. Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings. 
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1886), vol. 2, p. 285. 

Chase, J. Eastman. " Some Recollections of Winslow Homer." 
Harper s Weekly, New York, October 22, 1910, p. 13. 

Clement & Hutton. Artists of the Nineteenth Century and 
Their Works (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1 880), vol. I, 
pp. 362-363. 

CoEURN, F. W. " Winslow Homer's Fog Warning." New 
England Magaxine, 1908 ; New Series, vol. 38, pp. 616— 617. 

Coffin, William A. " A Painter of the Sea." Century Maga- 
zine, September, 1899, pp. 651-654. 

Cole, W. W. " Crayon Studies, by Winslow Homer." Brush 
and Pencil, Chicago, January, 1903, pp. 271-276. 


Cox, Kenyon. " Three Pictures by Winslow Homer in the 
Metropolitan Museum." The Burlington Magazine, London, No- 
vember, 1907, pp. 123-124. 

DowNES, William Howe. Twelve Great Jrtists (Boston: 
Little, Brown & Co., 1900), pp. 103-125. 

Downes, William Howe. " American Paintings in the Bos- 
ton Art Museum." Brush and Pencil, Chicago, August, 1900, 
pp. 202-204. 

Fowler, Frank. " An Exponent of Design in Painting." 
Scribners Magazine, New York, May, 1903, pp. 638-640. 

Hartmann, Sadakichi. a History of American Art (Boston, 
L. C. Page & Co., 1902), vol. i, pp. 189-200. 

Hearn, George A. The George A. Hearn Gift to the Metro- 
politan Museum of Art in the City of New York in the Year MCMVl 
(New York, 1906), pp. 191-197. 

Hind, C. Lewis. " American Paintings in Germany." The 
International Studio, September, 1 9 10, p. 189. 

HoEBER, Arthur. " Winslow Homer, a Painter of the 
Sea." The World's Work, New York, February, 191 1 ; pp. 14009- 

Howard, W. Stanton. " Winslow Homer's Northeaster." 
Harper s Magazine, New York, March, 19 10, pp. 574-575. 

IsHAM, Samuel. The History of American Painting (New York: 
The Macmillan Company, 1905), pp. 350-358, 408, 461, 462, 

472, 475^ 500. 501, 510- 

McSpadden, J. Walker. Famous Painters of America (New 
York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1907), pp. 169—189. 

Mechlin, Leila. " Winslow Homer." The International 
Studio, June, 1908, pp. cxxv— cxxxvi. 

Mechlin, Leila. " Winslow Homer." The Review of Re- 
vieivs, July, 1908. (A condensation of the foregoing article.) 

Morton, Frederick W. "The Art of Winslow Homer." 
Brush and Pencil, Chicago, April, 1902, pp. 40-54. 

Morton, Frederick W. The Critic, vol. 46, p. 323. 

Muther, Richard. History of Modern Painting (New York : 
1896), vol. 3, p. 482. 


Pach, Walter. " Quelques Notes sur les Peintres Ameri- 
cains." Gazette des Beaux-Arts^ Paris, vols. 51-52, p. 330. 

Pattison, James William. Painters since Leonardo (Chicago : 
Herbert S. Stone & Co., 1904), pp. 199, 210— 211. 

Saint-Gaudens, Homer. " Winslow Homer." The Critic, 
April, 1905, pp. 322-323. 

Sheldon, G. W, American Painters (New York, 1879), pp. 

Strachan, Edward. The Art Treasures of America. Philadel- 
phia: George Barrie, 1879. 

TucKERMAN, Henry T. Book of the Artists (New York: 1867), 
p. 491. 

Van Rensselaer, M. G. " An American Painter in England." 
The Century Magazine, November, 1883, pp. 13-20. 

Van Rensselaer, Mrs. Schuyler. Six Portraits (Boston : 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1894), pp. 237-274. (An expansion of 
the magazine article mentioned above.) 



Abbey, E. A., 207, 243, 244. 

Abbott, Jacob, 254. 

"Academy Notes" (1884), 123. 

Adams, E. D., 144; collection of, 231. 

"Adirondacks," 265. 

"Advance Guard — Crossing the Long 
Bridge, etc.. The," 39. 

"Afterglow, An," 265. 

Albright Art Gallerj', exhibitions, 243, 246. 

Alexander, J. W., 207, 212, 256. 

American Academj' of Arts and Letters, 253. 

American Art Association, 242. 

"American Paintings in Germany," 246. 

"American Tj-pe, The," Si. 

American W'atercolor Society, 56; exhibi- 
tions, 92, 94, 105, 106, 126, 146, 151, 162. 

"Answering the Horn," 89. 

"Anything for Me, etc., " 54. 

"Appleton's Journal," 94. 

"Approach of the British Pirate 'Alabama,' 
The," 46. 

"Approach to the Rapids," 180. 

"Approaching Tornado," 131. 

"April Showers," 31. 

Armour Institute of Technology, 208. 

"Army of the Potomac, The — A Sharp- 
shooter on Picket Duty," 45, 46, 47. 

"Army of the Potomac, The — Our Outlying 
Picket in the Woods," 43. 

Arnold, Matthew, 125. 

"Arrival at the Old Home," 31. 

Art Institute of Chicago, 247; exhibition 
(1910), 142, 172. 

*^Art Interchange," 204. 

"Art Journal," 34. 

"Art Students and Copyists in the Louvre, 
etc.," 60. 

"Art Treasures of America," 90. 

"As You Like It," 64. 

Associated Press, 252. 

"At Sea — Signalling a Passing Steamer," 

"At the Foot of the Lighthouse," see "Flight 
of Wild Geese." 

"August in the Country — The Seashore," 

Avery, G. A., 66. 
Avery, S. P., 55; S. P. Jr., 


Babbot, F. L., 245. 

"Backgammon," 89. 

"Bad Weather," 94. 

Baker, J. E., 18, 27, 28, 29, 50, 60, 167, 238, 

241, 242. 
Ball, T. R., 48. 
"Ballou's Pictorial," 29. 
"Banana Tree," 129. 
"Banks Fishermen," 137, 231, 258. 
Banks, Governor, 32. 
Barbizon School, 84. 
Barlow, Colonel Francis C, 43, 56. 
"Bathe at Newport, The," 30. 
"Bather, The," 259, 261. 
"Bathers, The," 73. 
"Bathing at Long Branch, etc.," 66, 68. 
"Battle of Bunker Hill, The, etc.," 80. 
Beatty, J. W., 200; 201, 231. 
"Beetle and Wedge, The," 25. 
Bell, F. A., 187. 

"Below Zero," 170, 171, 224, 247. 
Benson, Eugene, 35. 
Benson, F. W., 200, 201, 212. 
Benson, George, 26. 
Benson, John, 22, 23. 
Benson, Sarah (Buck), 22. 
Berenson, Bernhard, 170. 
"Bermuda," 259, 260. 
Bemheimer, E. H., 47. 
"Berry Pickers," 74, 78, 259. 
Bicknell, A. H., 70. 
Bicknell, W. H. W., 184. 
"Bivouac Fire on the Potomac," 40, 42. 
Bixbee, W. J., 198. 
Bixby, W. K., 219, 246. 
"Black Bass, Florida," 225, 231. 
"Blackboard," 89. 
Blair, C. J., 82, 163, 232. 
Bloomingdale, L. G., 208. 
"Blue Ledge of the Hudson," 225, 231. 
"Book," 89. 

"Book of the Artists," 58. 
"Boston American," 255. 



Boston Art Club, 224; exhibitions, 171, 202, 

212, 221. 
"Boston Common, The," 30. 
"Boston Globe," 265. 
Boston Memorial Exhibition (1911), 53, 92, 

94, 161, 197, 201, 256, 263. 
Boston Public Library, 243. 
"Boston Watering Cart, A," 29. 
Boussod, Valadon & Co., 174. 
"Boys Wading," 74, 75, 259. 
"Breakwater, The," 106. 
"Breezing Up," 90. 
"Briarwood Pipe, The," 51. 
"Bright Side, The," 52, 53, 54, 57, 58, 85, 91, 

203, 257. 
Brimmer, M., 129. 
Brirish School, 121. 
Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 

"Brush Harrow, The," 54. 
Br>'ant, W. C, 96. 
"Buccaneers, The," 130. 
Bufford, 27, 28, 262; lithograph shop, 11, 25, 

28, 29, 34. 
"Building a Smudge," 231. 
Burroughs, B., 55, 256. 
"Busy Bee, The," 81. 
Byron, 118. 

Cabot, A. T., 95. 

"Cadet Hop at West Point, A," 32. 

Caffin, C. H., 54. 

"Camp Fire, The," 95, 96, 165, 203,257. 

"Campaign Sketches," 49. 

"Camping Out in the Adirondack Moun- 
tains," 79. 

"Cannon Rock," 9, 177, 178, 179, 220, 231, 

"Canoeing in the Adirondacks," 162. 

*' Canoes in the Rapids," 203, 265. 

*'Cape Diamond," 181, 203. 

"Cape Trinity — Moonlight," 230, 258. 

Carnegie Art Gallery, 1S8; Institute, 200, 
212, 219, 229; exhibitions, 82, 149, 161, 
173, 187, 201, 203, 231. 

"Carnival, The," 85, 87, 203. 

"Castaway, The," see "Gulf Stream, The." 

"Cavalrj' Charge, A," 44. 

Century Club, 89. 

"Century Magazine," 182. 

"Channel Bass," 225, 231. 

Chapin, Mrs. H. D., 126. 

"Charge of the First Massachusetts Regi- 
ment . . . near Yorktown, The," 43. 

"Charge of the Light Brigade, The," 98. 

Charleston Exposition (1902), 220. 

Chase, J. E., 152, 153, 240. 

Chase, W. M., 35, 200, 207, 256. 

"Children and Sail-Boat," 95, 264. 

" Children Wading at Gloucester," 94, 264. 

"Children's Christmas Party, A," 37. 

"Chinese in New York, The," 78. 

Chisolm, Mrs. B. 0., collection, 231. 

"Christmas Belles," 63. 

"Christmas Out-of-Doors," 31. 

"Christmas Tree, The," 31. 

Church, Frederic E., 51, 57. 

Church, F. S., 94. 

Cincinnati .Art Museum Association, 193; 
exhibition, 192. 

Civil War, 3, 8, 53, 61. 

Clarke, Sir C. P., 135. 

Clarke, Thomas B., 47, 53, 72, 82, 87, 95, 126, 
127, 133, 148, 163, 165, 174, 185, 187, 188, 
203,205, 206; collection, lOi, 106, 130, 145, 
154, 184; catalogue, 100, lOi, 123, 145, 
162; sale, 47, 53, 126, 148, 154, 156, 162, 
163, 174, 1S4, 1S7, 204, 20s, 232. 

"Cloud Shadows," 153, 229. 

"Club Canoe, The," 226. 

"Coast in Winter," 154, 162, 165, 205, 232, 

"Coast of Maine, The," see "Maine Coast, 

"Coasters at .Anchor," 94. 

"CofleeCall, The,"49. 

Coffin, W. A., 81, 1S2, 183. 

Cole, J. Foxcroft, 11, 27, 28, 29, 60, 61. 

"Collector, The," 156, 161. 

" Coming Away of tfie Gale, The," 106. 

"Conch Divers," 130. 

"Confederate Prisoners at the Front," see 
"Prisoners from the Front." 

Copley Society of Boston, 212. 

Corcoran Gallery of Art, 202, 231. 

Cortissoz, R., 125. 

"Cotton Pickers," 89. 

"Country School, The," 70. 

"Country School-Room, A," 911 

"Country Store, A — Getting Weighed," 
66, 67. 

"Country Store, The," 70. 

"Course of True Love," 81. 

"Courtin', The," 98. 

Cox, Kenyon, 134, 179, 243, 256. 

"Critic, The," 223. 

"Crossing the Pasture," 70, 116. 

Curtis, Mrs. G. K., 17, 18. 

Curtis, Mrs. G. S., 95. 

Curtis, Sidney W., 18. 

Curtiss, F. H., 53, 263. 

"Cutting a Figure," 66, 68. 



"Dad "s Coming," 77. 

'"Dance, The," 31. 

"Dance after the Husking, The," 31. 

"Dancing at the Casino," 59. 

"Dancing at the ilabille," 59. 

"Danger," L45. 

Darley, F. O. C, 254. 

De Camp, Mre. J., 241, 242. 

"Deer-Stalking in the Adirondacks in Win- 
ter," 66, 67. 

"Defiance," 48. 

De Vine, B., 240, 241. 

"Dinner, The," 31. 

"Dinner Horn, The," 65. 

"Diver, Nassau," 265. 

Doll & Richards, 174, iSs, 224, 226; gallery, 
105, 126, 127, 136, 171, 193, 220, exhi- 
bition, 203. 

"Dressing for the Carnival," 165. 

"Driftwood," 245. 

"Drive in the Central Park, The,"38. 

"Dri\Tng Home the Com," 31. 

Duveneck, F., 193, 200, 207. 

"Eagle Head, Manchester," 64. 
"Early Evening," 229, 231, 243. 25S. 
"Early Morning After Storm at Sea," 214, 

219, 224, 245. 
"Eastern Point," 207. 
"Eastern Point Light," 94. 
"Eating Watermelons," 90. 
"Eight Bells," 137, 146, I47> 148, 130, 151, 

165, 1S3, 188, 189, 203, 205, 25S, 267. 
"1860-1S70," 64. 
Elkins, G. W., 126. 
Emerson, R. W., 10, 76, 238, 239. 
"Enchanted," 242. 
"End of the Portage," 203. 
"Entering the First Rapid," 203. 
Ettlinger, L., 163, 231. 
E%-ans, W. T., 87, 88, 171, 172, 201, 229; sale, 

88, 171. 
"Evening Post, " New York, 135, 202, 262. 
''Evening Transcript," Boston, 212, 236. 
"Every Saturday," 66. 
Ewart, R. H., 73- 

Fair Oaks, Battle of, 44. 

"Fair Wind, A," 90. 

"Fall Games — The Apple Bee," 32. 

"Fifth Avenue," 37. 

"Fifty-ninth Street," 37. 

"Fireworks on the Night of the Fourth of 

July," 62. 
"Fisher Girl, The," 174, 231, 258. 
"Fishermen's Wives," 265. 

"Fisherwomen, Engh'sh Coast," 265. 

"Fishing," 265. 

"Fishing Boats at Anchor," 94. 

"Fishing Boats, Key West," 259, 261. 

"Fishing Ground, The," 203, 204. 

"Fishing, Upper Saguenay," 203. 

"Flight of Wild Geese," 201, 232, 246, 263. 

"Flirting on the Seashore and on the Mead- 
ow," 79. 

"Flower Garden and Bungalow," 259, 260. 

"Flowers for the Teacher," Si. 

"Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake," 150, 151. 

"Fog," 212. 

"Fog Warning, The," 137, 13S, 139, 165, 183, 
232, 238, 258, 263, 267. 

"Forebodings," 100, loi, 102, 103. 

"Fountain, The," 98. 

Fowler, F., 97, 169. 

"Fox and Crows," see "Fox-Hunt, The." 

"Fox Hill," 129. 

"Fox Hunt, The," 168, 206, 207, 231, 248, 
258, 267. 

Freer, C. L., 154, 229; collection, 229, 231, 

"Fresh Morning, A," 90. 
"From Richmond," 44. 

"Gale, The," see "Great Gale, A." 
"Gathering Berries," 78. 
"Gathering Evergreens," 31. 
"Gazette des Beaux-.\rts," 57, 58, 223. 
"General Thomas Swearing in the Volunteers 

... at Washington," 39. 
Gest, J. H., 193. 
Gibbs, F. S., collection, 48. 
"Girl," 77. 
"Girl in a Fog," 174. 
"Girl with Letter," 264. 
"Gloucester Boys," 94. 
"Gloucester Harbor," 76. 
"Gloucester, Massachusetts," 94. 
Godwin, P., 73. 
"Going Berrying," 264. 
"Good Pool, A," see "Ouananiche — A 

Good Pool." 
Gould, C. W., 138, 231, 256. 
"Government Building," 265. 
"Grand Review at Camp Massachusetts, 

. . . The," 32. 
" Great Fair . . . New York, in Aid of the 

City Poor," 40. 
" Great Gale, A," 156, 166, 205, 231. 
"Great Russian Ball, The," 46. 
Green, C. A., 242. 
"Green Dory, The," 95, 264. 
"Guide," 265. 



"Guide, The," i8i. 
"Guides Stiooting Rapids," 203. 
"Gulf Stream, The," 132, 133, 134, 149, 204, 
213, 214, 21S, 21S, 225, 229, 231, 247, 258. 
Gunsaulus, Dr. F. W., 208. 
Guy, Seymour J., 51. 

Hall, R. C, 154- 

"Halibut Fishing," see "Fog Warning, The." 

Hamilton, W.H., 52. 

"Hark! The Larl;," 148, 149, 151, 152, 


Harper & Brothers, 34, 47, 98, 164, 243, 

"Harper's Weekly," 8, 29, 30, 31, 32, 37, 38, 
39, 41, 43, 44, 4S, 46, 54, 59. 60, 61, 63, 64, 
65, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 77, 78, 80, 96, 164. 

Harrison, A., 95. 

"Hauling in Anchor," 192. 

"Head Guide, The," 203. 

Hearn, G. A., 133, 177, 178, 187, 219, 245, 
256; collection, 174. 

"Herring Fishing," 138, 165, 231. 

"Herring Net, The," see "Banks Fisher- 

"High Cliff, Coast of Maine," 9, 114, 170, 
172, 215, 217, 229, 232. 

"Higii Sea, A," 181, 190, 191, 221, 258. 

"Hillside," 91, 92, 259. 

Hind, C. L., 246. 

"History of the Second Army Corps," 44. 

" Holiday in Camp — Soldiers Playing Foot- 
ball," 42, 54. 

"Home from the War," 46. 

"Home, Sweet Home," 47, 48, 49. 

Homer, Arthur B., 22, 26, 43, 109, 115, 116, 
145, 146, 227, 233, 23s, 236, 250, 263, 

Homer, Mrs. A. B., 115. 

Homer, A. P., 115, 251. 

Homer, C. L., 115, 227. 

Homer, Charles S., 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 55, 
70, 109, 115, 198, 199, 200 , 253. 

Homer, Charles S., Jr., 22, 24, 26, 64, 109, 
no, 112, 115, 117, 145, 153, 166, 179, 211, 
242, 251, 254, 255, 256. 

Homer, Mrs. C. S., Jr., 115. 

Homer, Eleazer, 22. 

Homer, Henrietta Maria (Benson), 22, 23, 
109, 253. 

Homer, James, 22. 

Homer, Captain John, 21. 

Homer, Mary, 22. 

Homer, Winslow, birth, 21; youth, 24; New 
York, 34, 46, 59, 87 ; Peninsular Cam- 
paign, 41; voyage to Europe, 56; trips to 
Adirondacks and New England, 59-85 ; 

Virginia, 85 ; New England Coast, 94 ; Eng- 
land, 99; Front's Neck, 109, 137, i8i ; Ba- 
hamas and Cuba, 129; Canada, 179; death, 

"Homeward Bound," 60. 

Hooper, E. W., 126, 161; collection, 126; 
estate, 95. 

"Hound and Hunter," 163, 165, 231, 258. 

Howard, W. S., 178. 

Howland, A. C, 34, 35. 

Howland, Judge Henry, 34. 

Hoyt collection, sale, 191. 

"Hudson River at Blue Ledge," see "Blue 
Ledge of the Hudson." 

Humphreys, Dr. A. C, loi, 149. 

Huneker, 257. 

Hunt, W. M., 3, 57. 

"Hunter with Dog," see "Return from the 

"Huntsman and Dogs," see "Return from 
the Hunt." 

"Husking the Corn in New England," 30. 

"He Malin," 203. 

"Incoming Tide, The," 100, 102, 103. 

"Indian Boy," 204. 

"Indian Camp," 203, 204, 265. 

"Indian Girls," 204. 

"In Front of the Guard-House," 51. 

"Initials, The," 52. 

"Inland Water, Bermuda," 221. 

Inness, George, 3, 51, 202, 247. 

"Inside the Bar," 100, 102. 

International Society of Sculptors, Painters. 

and Gravers, exhibition, 159. 
"International Studio, The," 246. 
"In the Fields," 90. 
"In the Garden," 77, 81. 
"In the Rapids," 225. 
"In the Twilight," 104. 
Isham, Samuel, 11, 12, 93, 256. 
"Item," Philadelphia, 135. 

"Jessie Remained Alone at the Table," 98. 
Johnson, Eastman, 3, 51, 121, 203. 
Johnson, J. G., 154, 165. 
Johnston, J. T., 55; collection, 61; sale, 55. 
"Jurors Listening to Counsel, etc.," 63. 
"Kissing the Moon," 223, 258. 

Klackner, C, 150, 151, 152, 164. 
Knoedler, R. F., 256; & Co., 171, 215, 224; 

galleries, 225, 245. 
Kobbe, G., 56, 83. 
Kurtz, C. M., 123. 
La Farge, Mrs. B., 126, 161, 221, 232, 263. 



La Faxge, John, 3, 35, 36, 51, 56, S3, 84, 185, 

200, 207, 212, 243, 244, 267. 
"Lake Shore," 203, 204. 
"Landscape," Si. 
"Last Days of Harvest, The," 77- 
"Last Goose at Yorktown, The," 47, 48, 49. 
Laimik, J. N., 61. 

Layton, F., 149; Art Gallery, 149, 231. 
"Lee Shore," see "On a Lee Shore." 
Lehman, II. H., 87. 
"Lemon," 89. 
"Life Boat, The," 104. 
"Life Brigade, The," 100, 103. 
"Life in Har%-ard College," 29. 
"Life Line, The," 120, 121, 122, 123, 126, 

133, I37> 142. 150. ISI. 1S3- 203, 205, 258. 
"Light on the Sea, A," 202, 231. 
Lincoln, llrs. R. C, 201, 232, 246, 263. 
"Little Arthur in Fear of Harming a Worm," 

"Little Charlie's Tnnocent Amusements," 


"Little More Yam, A," 104. 

"Lobster Cove," 64. 

"London Art Journal," 57, 38, 90, 93. 

"Lookout The — All's Well:" iSi, 182, 
183, 1S4, 1S5, 201, 203, 205, 206, 207, 232, 
25S, 263, 267, 270. 

"Lost on the Grand Banks," 137, 140, 142, 
16s, 183. 

Lotos Club, 192, 220, 231; exhibition, 201. 

Louisiana Purchase Exposition, art depart- 
ment, 224. 

Lowell, J. R., 98, 254. 

"Lumbering in Winter," 66, 67. 

Luxembourg Museum, 59, 161, 207. 

Macbeth, W., 248. 

"Maine Coast, The," 9, 177, 181, 185, 186, 

187, 190, 205, 206, 207, 219, 232, 258. 
"Making Hay," 70. 
"Manchester Coast," 62. 
Manson, T. L., Jr., 162 ; Mrs., 206. 
"Man Fishing in the Adirondacks," 225. 
"Man with a Wheelbarrow, A," 25. 
"Maimers and Customs at the Seaside," 64. 
Mansfield, B., loi, 175, 230, 231. 
Mantz, Paul, 57. 
"March Wind," 165. 
"March Winds," 31. 
"Marine on the Coast, A," 158. 
"Market Boat," 129. 
"ilarket Scene, The," 130. 
Martin, Homer D., 33, 36, 247. 
Martin, J. T.; collection, 242. 

Mather, F. J. Jr., 262. 

Matthews, N. C, 88. 

McClellan, Genera!, 40, 42, 53. 

McKim, C. F., 243. 

McMillin, E., 171, 220, 224. 

McSpadden, J. W., 26. 

Mechlin, Miss Leila, 13. 

"Men in Canoe," 265. 

"Mending the Nets," 150, 131, 161. 

Merrill, Mrs., 73. 

Merrill, M., 127. 

"Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year, 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 133, 134, 177, 

178, 229, 231, 243, 247, 236, 239, 260; 
collection, 132, 179; exhibition, 33. 

"Milking Time," 81. 

"MiU, The," 70. 

"Miller's Daughter, The," 98. 

Millet, J. F., 12, 13, 38, 118. 

"Moonhght," see "Summer Night, A." 

"Moonhght, Wood Island Light," 170, 173, 

179, iSi, 205, 238. 
Moore, F. P., 171, 247. 
Morgan, Randal, 243. 
"Morning," 90. 
"Morning Bell, The," 77. 
"Morning Walk, The, etc.," 62. 
"Mt. Adams," 64. 

"Mount Washington," 263. 

"Mouth of the Tj-ne," 263. 

Munsell, A. H., 266. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 140, 184, 204, 

203, 236, 267; collection, 233, 263. 
"Musical Amateurs," 61. 

National Academy of Design, 36, 48, 49, 31, 
32, 36, 61, 62, 64, 71, 77, 89, 247, 236; ex- 
hibitions, 37, 32, 34, 70, 81, 92, 94, 93, 106, 
120, 134, 138, 142. 

National Gallery of Art, Washington, 87, 
172, 229, 232. 

"Native Cabin," 129. 

"Natural Bridge, Nassau," 239, 260. 

"Near the Queen's Staircase," 129. 

"Negress with Basket of Fruit," 129. 

"New England Country School, A," 71, 72, 
73, 91- 

"New England Factory Life — 'Bell 
Time,' "62. 

"New Year, The — 1869," 63. 

"New Y'ork Charities," 78. 

"New York Mail and Express," 82, 123. 

New York Memorial Exhibition (1911), 74, 
91, 166, 223, 236, 263, 263; catalogue, 154. 

"News for the Fleet," 43. 



"News for the Staff," 43- 

"News from the War," 43. 

"Newspaper Train, The," 43. 

"Niagara," 57. 

Nicoll, J. C, 88, 224. 

"Noon," 129. 

"Noon Recess, The," 72. 

"Nooning, The," 73. 

Norcross, G. H., 140. 

Norcross, Miss, 140. 

Norcross, O., fund, 140. 

North Woods Club, N. Y., 226. 

"Northeaster, The," 177, 179, 201, 219, 245, 

"November," 91. 

O'Brien, M., & Son, 148, 162, 210, 213, 214. 

"Old Jlountain Philips," 83. 

"On a Lee Shore," 9, 149, 177, 185, 190, 208, 

209, 231, 258, 263. 
"On the Banlcs — Hard-a-Port — Fog," 

"On the Beach — Two are Company, etc.," 

"On the Beach at Long Branch — The 

Children's Hour," 78. 
"On the Bluff at Long Branch, etc.," 65. 
"On the Cliffs," 161, 162. 
"On the Fence," 92. 
"On the Hill," 92. 
"One Boat Missing," 106. 
"Origin of Christmas, The," 37. 
Osgood^ J. R. & Co., 66, 98. 
"Ouananiche — A Good Pool," 225, 231. 
"Ouananiche, Lake St. John," 203. 
"Ouananiche Fishing," 203. 
"Our Next President," 62. 
"Our Special Artist," 44. 
"Our Thanksgiving," 31. 
"Our Watering-Places — Horse-Racing at 

Saratoga," 54. 
"Our Watering-Places — The Empty Sleeve 

at Newport," 54. 
"Over the Hills," 90. 

Page, William, 34. 

Palfrey, General Francis W., 44, 94. 

"Pall Mali Gazette," 159. 

"Palm Tree, Nassau," 259, 260. 

Pan-American Exposition, 212. 

Paris International Exhibitions, 55, 57, 58, 

72, 91, 206. 
"Pay Day in the Army of the Potomac," 42, 

Pearce, Mrs. W. H. S., 63, 263. 
Peninsular campaign, 40, 41, 42, 43, 46,48, 49. 

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 72, 
171, 192, 219, 229, 232; collection, 170, 
231; exhibitions, 179, 191, 20S, 230, 245. 

"Perils of the Sea, The," 100, loi, 102, 150, 

Philadelphia Watercolor Club, 232. 

Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1876), 
74, 81. 

Philpott, A. J., 265. 

"Picardie," 61. 

"Pike," 231. 

"Pioneer, The," 221, 239, 261. 

"Pitching Quoits," see "Zouaves Pitching 

"Pirate Boat, The," 226. 

Pomroy, H. K., 95. 

"Port of Nassau," 129. 

"Portage, The," 263. 

Potter, Mrs. J. B., 126. 

"Prisoners from the Front," 54, 55, 56, 57, 
58, 61, 82, 90, 258, 262. 

"Front's Neck, Maine," 233. 

Prout's Neck Improvement Society, no. 

"Province of Quebec, The," iSi. 

"Rab and the Girls," 90. 

"Raid on a Sand-Swallow Colony — 'How 

Many Eggs?'" 78. 
Rainsford, Rev. W. S., 145. 
"Rainy Day in Camp," 70. 
"Rapids are Near, The," 203. 
"Rapids below Grand Discharge," 203. 
Rathbun, R., 87. 
"Rations," 47, 53, 203. 
"Rattlesnake," 89. 
"Rebels Outside their Works at Yorktown," 

Reichard, G., 188, 189; & Co., 165; gallery, 

"Return from the Hunt, The," 161, 165, 221, 

231, 232, 263. 
"Return up the River, The," 203. 
Rhode Island School of Design, 208, 231, 263. 
"Right and Left," 244, 258. 
"Road in Nassau, The," 265. 
Robinson, E., 256. 
Robinson, T., 57, 
Rogers, Mrs. W. H., 191. 
"Rolling Sea, A," 104. 
Rondel, Frederic, 36. 
"Rowing Homeward," 154. 
Royal Academy, 121. 

"Sail-Boat," 64. 
"Sailing Dories," 264. 
" Sailors Take Warning 




Saint Botolph Clnb, exhibitions, 142, iSo. 

"St. John's Gate," 204. 

Saint-Gaudens, A., 4, 243, 244. 

"St. Valentine's Day — The Old Story in 

All Lands," 5i. 
"Salem Harbor," 64. 
Sanford, H., 58. 

"Santa Claus and His Presents," 31. 
Sargent, J. S., 206, 207. 
"Saved," see "Undertow." 
"Sawkill River, Pa.," 64. 
Sajles, H., 92. 
Schaus, H., 148. 
Schenck, A., 57. 
Schieren, C. A., 243. 
"School Time," 77. 
"Schooners at Anchor," 94. 
"Scotch Mist," 126. 
"Sea Fans," 129. 
"Sea on the Bar," 145. 
"Searchlight, Harbor Entrance, Santiago de 

Cuba," 132, 231. 
"Sea-Side Sketches — .\ Clam Bake," 73. 
"Seesaw, Gloucester, Massachusetts," 79. 
"Shall I Tell Your Fortune ? " 90. 
"Shark Fishing, Xassau Bar," 131. 
"Sharks," 225. 

"Shell in the Rebel Trenches, A," 43. 
"Shepherdess," 91, 259. 
"Shepherdess of Houghton Farm, The," 92, 


Sherwood, J. H., 73, 91. 
"Ship-Building, Gloucester Harbor," 76. 
"Ship's Boat, The,'" 100, 104, 126. 
"Shooting the Rapids," 223, 23S, 263. 
** Shore and Surf, Nassau," 259, 261. 
Shurtleff, R. M., 35, 46, 83, 93, 162. 
"Signal of Distres, The," 151, 152, 156, 138, 

139, 183- 
"Skating at Boston," 31. 
"Skating in the Central Park," 37. 
"Skating on the Ladies' Skating Pond in the 

Central Park," 37. 
"Skating Season, The, 1862," 40. 
"Sketch from Nature," 64. 
"Sketch in Florida," 146. 
"Sketch in Eej- West," 146. 
"Sleighing Season, The — The Upset," 37. 
"Sloop. Bermuda," 259, 261. 
Smith, C. S., 90. 
Smith, F. H., 89. 
Smithers, F. S., 171. 
"Snake in the Grass," 224. 
"Snap the Whip," 26, 73, 74, 81, 91, 257. 
"Snow Shde in the City, .\," 37. 
"Song Birds, Nassau," 129. 

" Songs from the Writings of Tennyson," 97. 

"Songs of the War," 39. 

"Spanish Club," 263. 

"Spanish Flag, The," 233. 

"Sparrow Hall, Newcastle-on-TjTie," 229. 

"Sponge Fisherman, Nassau," 12S. 

Spoor, J. A., 142. 

"Spring," 243. 

"Spring Blossoms," 63. 

"Spring Farm Work — Grafting," 63. 

"Spring in the City," 30. 

"Station-House Lodgers," 77. 

Stimson, L. A., 223. 

"Stonn-Beaten," 170, 171, 179, 1S9, 201, 

220, 224. 
"Storm on the Engh'sh Coast," 263. 
Stotesburj', E. T., 14S. 
Strachan, E., 90. 
Strauss, N., 242. 

"Street in Santiago de Cuba," 263. 
"Studio, The," 61, 123, 203. 
"Study, A," 61. 
Sturgis, R., 130. 
"Summer," 93. 
"Summer Night, A," 9. 136, 137, 139, 160, 

173, 181, 2c6, 207. 
"Summit of Mount Washington, The," 62. 
"Sun, The," New York, 133, 237. 
"Sunday Morning," 77, 93. 
" Sunday Morning in Virginia," 83, 88, 91. 
"Sundown," 92, 94. 

"Sunlight on the Coast," 134, 133, 163, 238. 
"Sunset," 94. 

"Sunset, Lake St. John," 203. 
"Sunset, Saco Bay, The Coming Storm," 

181, 191, 231, 238. 
"Sunset and Moonrise," see "Kissing the 

"Surgeon at Work, The," 44. 
Swift, S., 82, 123. 

"Taking on Wet Pro\-isions," 239, 261. 
"Tatler," London, 144. 
"Tears, Idle Tears," 98. 
Temple, J. E., 220; fund, 170. 
"Tenth Commandment, The," 63. 
"Thanksgiving Day, i860," 38. 
"Thanksgi%Tng Day in the Army," 34. 
"Thanksgiving in Camp," 42, 43. 
Thomas, Washington B., The, 210. 
"Three Fishermen and Girl," 265. 
"Three Men in a Canoe," 263. 
"Tornado, Bahamas," 239, 260. 
Tourilli Club, 179, 181. 
"Tribime," New Y'ork, 133. 
"Trip to Chicoutimi, The," 203. 




"Trout and Float," 231. 

"Trout Fishing," 204. 

Trumblc, A., 156, 158, 159, 161. 

"Trysting Place, The," 81. 

Tuckerman, H. T., 58. 

Turner, Ross, 135, 193. 

"Two Guides, The," 82, 83, 90, 162, 165, 203, 

"Tynemouth," 100, 102, 103. 

"Uncle Ned at Home," 81. 
"Under a Palm Tree," 130. 
"Under the Falls, Grand Discharge," 203, 

"Under the Falls, Catskill Mountains," 71. 
"Undertow," 121, 137, 142, 143, 144, 150, 

183, 231, 248, 258. 
"Union Cavalry and Artillery Starting in 

Pursuit of the Rebels, The," 43. 
Union League Club, New York, 16, 210, 218; 

exhibitions, 132, 202. 
"Unruly Calf, The," 243. 
Untermeyer, S., 156. 
"Upland Cotton," 92, 93, 94. 

Valentine, Lawson, 52. 

Valentine, Mrs. L., 91, 265 ; collection, 74, 78. 

Van Rensselaer, Mrs. S., 12, 124, 125, 143. 

Vedder, Elihu, 51. 

Velasquez, S- 

View from Prospect Hill, Bermuda," 231. 
."Visit from the Old Mistress, The," 85, 86, 

87, 91, 95, 172, 203, 256. 
"Voice from the Cliffs, A," 100, 102, 148, 

149. 259, 267. 
"Volante," 233. 

"Waiting for a Bite," 79. 

"Walk Along the Cliff, A," 104. 

"Wall, A, Nassau," 259, 260. 

"War for the Union, The, 1862 — A Bayonet 

Charge," 44. 
"War, The — Making Havelocks for the 

Volunteers," 39. 
Warner, C. D., 83. 
Warner, Mrs. R. S., 126. 
"Watching Sheep," 92. 

"Watching the Breakers," see "High Sea 

"Watching the Tempest," 100, loi, 103,259. 
"Watch-Tower, The," 77. 
"Watermolon Boys, The," 90. 
"Ways and Means," 31. 
"Weather-Beaten," see "Storm-Beaten." 
Weir, John F., 35, 36, 81. 
"West Wind, The," 9, 155, 156, 203, 20s, 

White, Rev. S., 253. 
White, W. A., 53. 
"White Mountain Wagon," 64. 
"White Mountains, The," 63, 64. 
"Wicked Island," 203. 
Wight, Moses, 29. 
"Wild Ducks," 265. 
"Winding the Clock," 94. 
"Winter," see "Fox Hunt, The." 
"Winter — A Skating Scene," 6x. 
"Winter at Sea — Taking in Sail," 62. 
"Winter Morning, A — Shovelling Out," 66. 
"Winter Quarters in Camp — The Inside of 

a Hut," 45. 
Wolfe, Catherine L., 126. 
"Wolfe's Cove," 204. 
Woodward, Dr. G., 232. 
Worcester Art Museum; exhibition, 1910, 

201, 246. 
" World's Columbian Exposition — The 

Fountain at Night," 258. 
World's Fair, Chicago, 95, 165; exhibition, 

"Wounded," 43. 

"Wreck, The," 181, 187, 188, 189, 231, 267. 
"Wreck of the Atlantic, The — Cast up by 

the Sea," 72. 
"Wreck of the Iron Crown, The," 104. 
"Wreck off the EngUsh Coast," 265. 
Wyant, A. H., 51. 
Wyeth, Ned, 26. 

"Yacht Hope, The," 94. 
"Young Ducks," 203. 
"Youth of C. S. H., The," 25. 

"Zouaves Pitching Quoits," 52, 53, 263. 

U . S . A